Matthew 24-25 - The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25.31-46. The Sheep and the Goats - Mr. A. Hull

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This section concludes the major section of Matthewʼs Gospel, the “Son of David” section. The ensuing “Son of Abraham” section deals with the circumstances of His death and resurrection. We see here the Son of David sitting on “the throne of his glory” (v.31).

At His appearing His attendants will be “all the holy angels”. See Hebrews 1.6. At His first advent, “a multitude of the heavenly host” was involved in praising God (Lk. 2.13). At His appearing in glory, every angel will be involved.

The judgement that is foretold in this passage must not be confused with other major judgements of Scripture. The Judgement Seat of Christ (2 Cor.5.10) is exclusively for believers and has reward in view. The Great White Throne judgement (Rev.20.11-15) deals with the wicked dead with a view to their eternal punishment. What we have here relates to those of the nations who survive the Tribulation, and this assize will take place on earth.

The division between men here is suggested in parables in this Gospel, the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the parable of the dragnet (ch.13.30,47-50).

We must avoid the conclusion that this was a judgement on the basis of works. Those who will be blessed are called, “the righteous” (vv.37,46). The tenor of Scripture is that men are constituted righteous on the principle of faith, e.g. Romans 3.28. The behaviour of “the righteous” gives evidence that they are men of faith.

In the passage, the Lord is likened to a Shepherd (v.32). He is also seen as a Sovereign, “the King” (v.34 etc), and a Son (reference to “My Father”, v.34).

The term “my brethren” relates to Jewish believers of the Tribulation period.

Both the “sheep” and the “goats” address the King as “Lord” (vv.37,44), an evidence of His teaching in Matthew 7.21. It also illustrates the statement of Philippians 2.11.

Another general lesson is that service rendered to the people of God, even “the least” of them, is service rendered to Christ Himself (vv.40,45).

Observe the contrast between the Sheep and the Goats.

The Sheep

  • On the right
  • Come!
  • Blessed
  • In a sphere prepared for them
  • Evidence of works - ʻYe have done itʼ
  • Surprised by the commendation
  • Eternal Life

The Goats

  • On the left
  • Depart!
  • Cursed
  • In a sphere prepared for the devil
  • No evidence of works - ʻYe have not done itʼ
  • Surprised by the condemnation
  • Eternal Fire & Punishment