Sheep and Goats

Matthew 25:32-33. “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”

Jesus will sit on His throne of glory. The angels will be visibly present at this great judgment of the people of all nations.The church is not mentioned here in Matthew. We know from other passages that He will bring His own with Him, and they will take part in the judgment as well as in the government of the earth and the universe (I Cor. 6:2). The angels will have specific work to do (Matt. 13:41-42).

The question here, then, is who exactly will be judged. The Lord says all nations. It would seem clear, then, that this judgment is of all people of all nations who are living in the day when Jesus appears in His glory at the second coming.

This judgment, then, has to exclude the church, which was raptured away before the terrible events of the Tribulation period. This is not the judgment seat of Christ, in which all true believers must appear either for approval or disapproval. This judgment has already taken place before the events of the Second Coming and the judgment of the nations from the throne of the Son of Man.

Israel plays a huge part in this judgment. Jews who have endured through the Great Tribulation will have received His as Redeemer, King, Messiah.  But there will be other nations on the earth who have not all turned to Christ. True believers are the sheep; unbelievers are the goats.

The place of this judgment is undoubtedly Israel.  Zechariah 14:1-5 and Joel 3 talk about this judgment scene. Those who are to be judged will not be the church, or believing Israel, but all other nations who are alive at the time of the Second Coming.

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