BEFORE HIM WILL BE GATHERED ALL THE NATIONS: The Son of Man judges the sheep and the goats

bethsheep.jpgI am getting closer to getting this paper done, mostly because I have a Thesis which I believe is biblically accurate as intended by the author, Matthew as inspired by God and also ripe with robust biblical theology, commentary, journals and other research that affirm my argument. Now that I have the Thesis and have tested it biblically and with other credible sources, I intend to revise my flow of thought from my previously charted outline (below) and contend for my position.

Thesis

As one approaches the conclusion of Matthew’s gospel prior to the passion passages, and after Jesus has largely concluded his earthly ministry, I propose that the passage noted as the Final Judgment in Matthew’s gospel chapter 25 verses 31 through 46 is actually intended to establish the ultimate sovereignty of Jesus Christ as Lord over all people as Son of Man. Matthew communicates this message by invoking the prophecy of the judgment by the Son of Man in Daniel chapter 7 as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ, therefore pointing to the longed for Messiah of the Jews, and establishing his authority as sovereign King. By using the Son of Man language, he not only connects Christ’s parousia as fulfillment of OT judgement prophecy, but by relating the self-proclamation made by Christ as the Son of Man throughout the Gospels with the Danielic and Davidic suggestions that the Son of Man must be fully man and fully sovereign God. Furthermore, Matthew intended that his readers to be clearly oriented towards the eternal consequence or rewards of citizenship within or out of the Kingdom of God. His use of the parable of judging sheep and goats is intended, I propose, to differentiate within all gathered peoples, those who serve brothers and sisters of Christ in their mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God, therefore exposing their belief in him as The Sovereign Lord thus granting them eternal reward. I contend, that throughout history the consensus of orthodox interpretations affirm that good works towards anyone or God’s people alone, is not established as the criterion for acceptance, but specifically those acts of mercy and compassion towards those who facilitate the completion of the Great Commission passage seen in Matthew chapter 28 as a response in faith that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah, Servant, Judge and King of all.

Before Him Will Be Gathered All The Nations:

The Son of Man judges the sheep and the goats

In the twenty-fourth and fifth chapters of Matthew, He describes a discourse, or a teaching, of Jesus Christ that was given to His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Jesus telling is people was to become of this kingdom that Christ spoke of from the beginning of his ministry. Its place in chronological history of the life of Christ, it was the last of five teachings of Christ before the crucifixion. Unless one had the ability to see the beauty of the Kingdom of God and the hope that it brings it could be seen as a bittersweet event of a beloved teacher leaving his pupils with his parting words of instruction of things to come. This discourse covered not only the final judgement and a criterion therein that qualifies who may enter the kingdom or enter punishment, but it also a warning to the flock by their all-wise shepherd to be watchful, prepared for suffering and tribulation, and finally, that there will be a span of time, of which no one knows how long except God, before the Son of Man returns enacting the Final Judgement.
Christ returning as the King of The Kingdom of Heaven, judging all against their worthiness to enter His eternal kingdom is the event that we look forward through the windshield in this journey through redemptive history, while remaining constantly aware and forever changed by what was already accomplished by our King.

  1. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. (Matthew 25:31 ESV)
    1. Historical interpretations
    2. Jesus is Son of Man, physically
      1. Psalm 8
      2. Ezekial
    3. Jesus is Son of Man, Divine Authority-Spiritually
      1. See Daniel 7:13-14 see alexander p.113, Ladd
      2. See Matt 8:20
      3. See Rev19:11-16
    4. Jesus is Son of Man, The Servant Shepherd
      1. Isaiah 53
      2. Ezek 34
  2. Before him will be gathered all the nations… (Matthew 25:32 A ESV)
    1. Historical interpretations
    2. All the nations Him- Christ returning as authoritative judge, Son of Man
    3. All Nations is not explicitly judeo-centric or specific to the church, but all peoples including the church.
    4. All Nations is explicitly missiological
      1. Matt 28:16-20
      2. Jewish History and Culture of claiming the one true God in whom all must be made aware of and converted to belief in. (Skarsaune)
      3. All Nations is explicitly eschatalogical
      4. End of the Epoch, Already accomplished salvation will be completely consummated. The already will become: It is Here!
      5. Introduces End of the exile
      6. Typological fulfillment of entering the promised land and the kingdom of Heaven
  3. Separate people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:32 B ESV)
    1. Ezek 34 fulfilled
    2. Sheep – have value and worth, not of works but because of redemptive value in extending the glory of God through the proclaimation of the Kingdom, making disciples of all nations and assisting this effort – see Blomberg
      1. Endured Matt 10:22
      2. Acknowledged by the Shepherd Matt 10:32
      3. Rewarded for faith evidenced by good and faithful service in extending the glory of the Kingdom. Matt 10:42
    3. Goats- appear similar, devour, hardness of heart and failure to obey commands of Christ to his sheep.
      1. Matt 10:15

Be ready, therefore.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

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