To my Followers and Readers: What I am about to share is based on research of the Word of God, concerning the Sheep and Goats Judgment. You will find a comparison of two well-known authorities on the topic. I am fully aware that this is a controversial topic as one of the future unfulfilled events. I invite anyone with a conviction that is similar to either author or a different understanding of the topic to comment. I only request that your opinion is based on research, not just your opinion. None of us knows it all concerning Eschatology, but should all be in search of truth. Thank you for your participation. In Agape Love, ALE
There are several Judgments that are related to the End Times that are yet to be executed. They are the Judgment Seat of Christ (2Corinthians 5:10), in which resurrected and raptured saints will be judged for their works; the Judgment of Angels, probably fallen angels (1 Cor. 6:2-3); the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), which is the final Judgment of unbelievers for their sins which will take place at the end of the Millennium and, the Judgment that will be discussed here, the Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:31-46.)
There are many individuals today, even conservative Christians, that confuse the Sheep and Goats Judgment with the Great White Throne Judgment. Even Matthew Henry (1662-1714), a world renown Bible commentator explained Matt. 24:31-46 as though it represented the last judgment.
Matthew Henry says: This is a description of the last judgment. It is an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or miser. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will sholy distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God’s sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be. (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, Chapter 25 vs. 31-46).
Dake’s (2014), however, presents a clear distinction between the Judgment of the Sheep and Goats and the Great White Throne Judgment. The chart that follows makes this distinction clear.
Contrast Between the Two Judgments:
|Judgment of the Nations Judgment of the Wicked||Matt. 23: 32-46 Rev. 20: 11-15|
|1. Living nations||1. The wicked dead|
|2. Before the Millennium||2. After the Millennium|
|3. Christ the Judge||3. God the judge|
|4. On earth||4. In heaven|
|5. Two classes||5. One class|
|6. Some saved||6. None saved|
|7. Some destroyed||7. All destroyed|
|8. No resurrection||8. A resurrection|
|9. No books opened||9. Books opened|
|10. Basis: persecution of the Jews||10. All sins of all kinds of men|
|11. One generation||11. Many generations|
|12. Gentiles only||12. Jews-Gentiles|
|13. Angels help||13. None mentioned|
|14. Some go to Hell||14. All go to Hell|
|15. Some enter Kingdom||15. None enter Kingdom|
|16. Separation of good from the bad||16. No good judged here|
|17. To determine who continues to live on earth||17. None here will ever live on earth again|
|18. Some enter eternal life||19. None enter eternal life|
Beginning in Matt. 25:31 Jesus goes beyond the questions of the disciples and describes the period that follows the Second coming. (Walvoord, 1974). This passage of scriptures, according to Walvoord (1974) supports the conclusion that this judgment will occur at the beginning of the Millennium. At this Judgment all nations (Gentile nations) will be gathered before Christ. The sheep will be separated from the goats and placed on the right hand of Christ while the goats will be placed on His left. The sheep will be invited to enter into, inherit or live in His Kingdom. Christ will speak to them, saying words of comfort and encouragement.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
These amazing words will surprise the sheep for they will query the Master. (Matt. 25:37-39)
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
In Matthew 25: 40 Jesus will respond to them in a reassuring manner:
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Walvoord (1974) states that in using the words “my brethren” Jesus is referring to the Jews. (p. 201).
The goats, separated from the sheep and placed on the left side of Christ, will also be addressed by Christ. The words that they receive from Christ, however, will not be words of joy or encouragement.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matt. 25: 41)
“This sentence of eternal doom will be pronounced on those of the nations who have shown by their cold, indifferent behavior to His servants that they did not believe the message they carried through the world.” (Ironside, 2005, p. 218).
The goats will attempt to protest Jesus’s sentence, wanting to know when they were guilty of such things.
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (Matt. 25: 42-45)
The sheep will go into eternal life with Jesus while the goats will be cast into Hellfire. This Judgment will be performed by Jesus Himself with no hope for a change in the outcome.