Today we must ask these questions: Who are the sheep and goats? Who are the brothers and sisters of Jesus who need help? When will be the time of such crisis? Will I be involved? We continue with the end time teaching by Jesus and link a number of passages together to understand the very difficult passage in Matthew 25:31-46 “the Son of Man comes and separates the nations (Gentiles) as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats in the final judgment.” We must ask these questions: Who are the sheep and goats? Who are the brothers and sisters of Jesus who need help? When will be the time of such crisis? Will I be involved?
1. Matthew 25:31 The Son of Man refers to Jesus: Daniel 7:13. Jesus is coming again to judge the world’s people and divide them into two groups.
2. One group will go into eternal life – enter into the Kingdom of God; another group will enter into eternal punishment.
3. The key criteria Jesus uses to categorize the two groups is in verses 40 and 45. “What did you do to this group of My brothers and sisters?”
4. Who is the group of brothers and sisters of Jesus?
a. Definition of Jesus’ brothers and sisters: they do God’s will: Matthew 12:50 “Anyone who does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother!”
b. Who will enter the Kingdom of God? In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said, “Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter.”
5. How does Jesus describe the crisis conditions they would be in when the Gentiles should help them? Hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, in prison. They are being persecuted by power hostile to Jesus and who rules the world.
6. When will this happen? The end of the world. (Matthew 24:3)
7. Who are they? Why are they being persecuted?
a. They are the followers of Jesus: Matthew 24:9 Jesus said this: “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are My followers.” (The enemies of Jesus hate them.) (Also read Matthew 5:11)
b. They are followers of Jesus in the end time war described in Revelation 12. A key verse 12:17: “And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children – all who keep the commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.”
8. Jesus defines eternal life as in His prayer to God in John 17:3: “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”
In summary: in the end time, Jewish followers of Jesus will be persecuted by the enemy of Jesus. They will need food, water, shelter (safety and hospitality) and clothes and help to escape prison. Christians with Gentiles background will be serving Jesus by helping this group of the Jewish people. Based on the following Bible verses from Matthew 25, there will be no option for the followers of Jesus but to be involved in this war. All are expected to serve the Jewish followers of Jesus as we would serve Jesus. Jesus has made it clear that the alternative is to be sent to eternal punishment.
(Watchman’s additional note: If there are Christians who think that all Christians will be taken off this earth before the end time tribulation, who will be left behind to minister to the Jewish Christians?)
Matthew 25:31-46 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Final Judgment
31 “But when the Son of Man[a] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[b] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his 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 creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[c] you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.[d] 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
a. 25:31 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
b. 25:32 Or peoples.
c. 25:40 Greek my brothers.
d. 25:41 Greek his angels.