14.01.09 Mt. 25:31-46 Application of Parables
THE COMING JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’
40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ 41 Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!
42 For I was hungry
and you gave Me nothing to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger
and you didn’t take Me in;
I was naked
and you didn’t clothe Me,
sick and in prison
and you didn’t take care of Me.’
44 “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’
45 “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Jesus told this story with some poetic elements, but it is not considered to be a parable even though there are some parabolic elements such as the shepherd, sheep, goats, and a separation of the latter two. It is simplistic up to the point concerning the final judgment of humanity.
When one is about to face death, the usual conversation between that person and their family often is related to the most important issues of life. For this reason, Jesus tells His disciples of the impending judgment that will one day fall upon the Gentile nations – an amazing parallel to Joel 3:1-3. Jesus said there will be a judgment in which the righteous and the unrighteous each will receive their rewards. Those who placed their faith and salvation in Him are righteous (Mt. 25:37) and will be placed at His right hand, and are affectionately called His “sheep.” Those who elected to live their lives in their own way and rejected His call and holiness will be on His left side and are called “goats.” Those who reject Jesus will be cursed into everlasting darkness of fire reserved for Satan and his angels (Mt. 25:41). The symbolic imagery of right side and left side is evident again. The right hand of a king was always symbolic of blessings, authority, and prosperity, while the left hand was symbolic of the hand of cursing.
“Eternal punishment … eternal life.” Jesus again clearly stated that there is definitely a place for eternal punishment and another place for eternal life.