Category Archives: Parables

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

sheep_goats also applies to the kingdom period. Its introduction shows this—”When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” (Matthew 25:31) The Greek word here translated “angels” means “messengers.” It is variously used in the Bible, referring at times to human beings as servants, and at other times to spirit beings, and at times, even to Inanimate things. Paul referred to his partial blindness as “a messenger of Satan.”—2Co 12:7 The “angels” of this parable, who sit with Jesus In the throne of his glory, are the members of his glorified led church. Paul wrote, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2) In Matthew 19:28 Jesus promised his disciples that they would sit on thrones judging the “twelve tribes of Israel.” But Israel will be only one of the nations to be judged thus by Jesus and his church, when together they sit upon the throne of his glory. (Revelation 3:21) As the parable shows, “all nations” will then be judged by them.

In his sermon on Mars’ Hill, Paul stated that God had appointed a day when he would judge the world in righteousness and had given assurance of this unto “all men” by raising Jesus from the dead to be the righteous judge. (Acts 17:31) This appointed “day” was not in Paul’s time. The people were not then on trial before Christ and will not be until the kingdom is established.

The work of judgment is also referred to in a prophecy recorded by Micah, chapter 4, verses 1 to 4. Micah shows that it will take place after the “mountain of the house of the Lord” is established in the “top of the mountains.” Has this yet occurred? Is the Lord’s kingdom today dominating all the nations of the earth? Surely not! The kingdom class is not controlling world affairs but instead is suffering persecution and must be subservient to worldly governments and depend upon their courts for the administration of justice.

When the kingdom of the Lord is established, the law will not go forth from human governments or from man- made institutions but from “Zion.” And the word of the Lord will go forth from “Jerusalem.” Not until then will the Lord “judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off.” Not until then will the nations “beat their swords into  plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks.” Not until then will they cease to “lift up sword against nation,” and learn war no more. Not until then will it be true that “none shall make them afraid.”

What wonderful changes there will be in human experience when the Lord judges among the nations! Who could possibly presume to say that this work of judgment is now going on? Are the nations now beating their swords into plowshares? Have they ceased to lift up swords against one another? Is the world enjoying the full economic security represented in this prophecy by the symbol of “every man” sitting under vine and fig tree?

And above all, is it true today, as this prophecy declares it will be when the Lord is judging among the nations, that there are none to “make afraid”? Never before has the world been So filled with fear. It is the time foretold by Jesus when men’s hearts would be “failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth.” (Luke 21:26) No, this is not the world’s judgment day! The “sheep” are  not now being separated from the “goats.”

It is true that this parable was given by Jesus as one of the signs of his second presence. But we should remember that his presence lasts for more than a thousand years, and that the ultimate purpose of his return is the restoration of those for whom he died at his first advent. So the judgment- day work, while one of the signs of his presence, is a sign which has not yet appeared. We are witnessing the “distress of nations with perplexity,” but not their enlightenment and blessing. But when that judgment work does begin, it will continue until all who prove worthy during that thousand- year age will hear the Master say to them, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”—the kingdom, or dominion, given to our first parents. —Mt 25:34; Genesis 1:28 The use of the word “blessed” in the Master’s statement, “Come, ye blessed of my Father,” is most significant.

Beginning with Abraham, God continued to promise the future blessing of all the “families,” or “nations,” of the earth. And now, at the close of the final judgment or trial day, the thousand- year kingdom day, we find Jesus saying to those who pass successfully through that trial, “Come, ye blessed of my Father.” These are the ones, in other words, whom the Father promised to bless and who will then be blessed.

Jehovah promised to “bless,” these families, or nations, through the “Seed” of Abraham. Jesus, the Head of that “seed” class, first died to redeem them. Then he comes In the throne of his glory, his church with him, to administer the blessings he provided through his death, the blessings of”restitution,”of “regeneration,”of”resurrection.” God commanded our first parents to multiply and fill the earth and to have dominion over it. He knew that this would be done, and to emphasize the triumph of Jehovah’s loving purpose toward man, the invitation will be extended, “Come, inherit the dominion prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The ones for whom it was originally prepared are the ones who will finally receive it—the “blessed” of the Father.