The Judgment of the Nations

Matt. 25:31-46 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: 32  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: 33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

 

I.          This is the judgment of the nations, nothing else.

A.    This passage is not a parable, but a statement of truth.

1.      There is nothing about this parable that indicates it might be a parable.

2.      I have included this passage in my study of the parables because it is a continuation of our discussion about the judgment that shall come upon individuals that is given in the parable of the talents, and the parable of the pounds.

B.    Christ separates these nations into two groups before He pronounces sentence upon them.

1.      Their position on the right hand or on the left hand is a result of how they have treated a third group of people called “my brethren”.

2.      There are no lawyers or anyone to plead either case.

3.      Christ is judge Himself.

4.      There are no appeals to a higher court.

5.      None of the verdicts given in this judgment will be reversed, changed, or altered.

 

[1]II. II Tim. 4:1 - This judgment is not the judgment of the saved, which takes place at the appearing of Christ, or the Great White Throne judgment, which takes place when Christ is established as everlasting king.

A.    All three of these judgments take place at a different time.

1.      Matthew 25:31 - The judgment of the nations takes place when sits upon His throne at the beginning of the millennium.

2.      II Tim. 4:1 - The judgment of the saved takes place at the appearing of Christ.

3.      II Tim. 4:1 and Rev. 20:11-15 - The Great White Throne Judgment takes place at the beginning of eternity, the ending of the millennium.

B.    This judgment is a judgment of nations, not of individuals, whether lost or saved.

1.      Individuals sin and must be punished, or forgiven for their sins.

2.      Nations also sin and must be punished, or forgiven for their sins.

C.    Those present are different in all three judgments.

1.      All nations will be present at the judgment of the nations.

2.      Only saved people will be present at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

3.      Only lost people will be present at the Great White Throne Judgment.

D.    There is a separation of good and bad at this judgment, but there is no such separation at either of the other two judgments.

1.      Both the sheep nations and the goat nations are present, the sheep nations on the right hand of Christ, while the goat nations are on the left hand of Christ.

2.      At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the saved stand before God to be judged for their works.

3.      At the Great White Throne Judgment, the lost stand before God to be judged for their works.

E.     Both the living and the dead are represented at all three judgments.

1.      All nations, whether living or dead, appear before God to be judged for their actions toward “my brethren”.

2.      Only the living (the saved) are represented at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

3.      Only the dead (the lost) are represented at the Great White Throne Judgment.

F.     The criteria of each judgment is different.

1.      All nations will be judged according to their treatment of “my brethren” - Whether they remain a nation is revealed at this judgment.  Their eternal position is announced.

2.      The saved will be judged for their works - their eternity has already been established.

3.      The lost will be judged for their works - their eternity has already been established.

G.    Some might believe God would be unjust to condemn an entire nation when all of the citizens of that nation didn’t agree with the policies of that nation that hurt the Jews.

1.      For example:

a.      The nation of Babylon, as a whole, refused to worship God and were hurtful to the Jews.  (Remember Nebuchadnezzar who was saved and a leader of that nation?)

b.      Some of the citizens of Medes and Persians were faithful to God, disagreeing with the decisions made by the government concerning their condemnation of Israel.  (Remember King Darius who unknowingly made the foolish decree against Daniel?  He spent a restless night, fearful for Daniel.)

c.      God will remember the faithfulness of citizens of an unfaithful nation and will put them under another nation.

2.      This is comparable to God establishing nations from each of the twelve sons of Jacob.

a.      Those tribes that were faithful to God’s covenant were included in the nations of Israel as recorded in Rev. 7, while the unfaithful tribes were not included, but went into oblivion.

b.      Compare Numbers 1 with Rev. 7:5-8:

1)     The tribe of Dan and Ephraim is included in Numbers 1, but excluded from Rev. 7.

2)     Deut. 29:18-20 is a declaration that God will blot out the man, woman, family or tribe whose heart turneth away from serving God.

3)     This He did to the rebellious tribes of Israel, and He will do to the rebellious nations of this world.

c.      Notice that the tribes of Joseph and Levi were included in Revelation 7.

1)     The people who were members (citizens) of the rebellious tribes of Ephraim and Dan who were faithful to God would be included in either the tribe of Levi, or the tribe of Joseph.

2)     God always takes care of those individuals who are faithful to him, regardless of what their nation does.

3)     God will always take care of us as individuals as long as we are faithful to him.

4)     See God leaving out Ephraim, but including the tribe of Joseph.

3.   God will take care of the faithful people in the United States of America who disagree with sinful policies and practices of the government.

4.   God will take care of faithful people in Russia and the United Soviet Socialist Republic who disagree with sinful policies and practices of their government.

 

III.  Who are “my brethren”?

A.    When we are saved, we become members of the family of God (brother and sisters to one another with God as our Father.

1.      People who are working in the same line of work often call themselves “brother”.

a.      Masons call other masons “brother”.

b.      Fellow communists call other fellow communists “comrade”.

2.      Israelites call fellow Israelites “brother”.

3.      Saved people call other saved people “brother” or “sister”.

B.    Christ could have been talking about his brothers of the flesh - which would represent the entire nation of Israel.

1.      Gen. 12:1-3 God gave Israel a promise of His safe-keeping and that He would curse the nation that cursed Israel, or that didn’t help them on their way.

2.      God refused to bless the nation of the Moabites and the Amorites because they refused to give Israel passage through their land.

 

IV. If these sheep nations are to live in eternity, what will they be?

A.    It is likely these sheep nations are the same nations that appear in Rev. 21:24.

B.    The inhabitants of these nations.

1.      The bride of Christ will not dwell in these nations, but in the New Jerusalem.

2.      All the saved of all the ages who are not members of one of the local churches Christ organized will dwell in these nations.

C.    These nations will be governed by those whom God places over them, such as is described in the parable of the talents an the parable of the pounds.

D.    The inhabitants of these nations will bring the glory and honor of their nations into the New Jerusalem as a continual offering to God for His greatness, goodness and righteousness.

 

 



[1] J. R. Graves, The Parables and Prophecies of Christ Explained.  (Except part G.)