The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.
They also will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?
He will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
1. Understanding the language of Prophecy:
The language of God is the language of prophecy and it must be understood that this language isn't confined or subject to one particular situation or time, but is subject to and can be applied to different situations and times to serve one and the same purpose of God. Otherwise we wouldn't be quoting the word of God today and applying it to situations today, even after thousands of years of its transferal / impartation.
In the book of Hosea, the prophet Hosea quotes Gods calling the nation of Israel out of Egypt in the time of Moses.
"......and out of Egypt I called my son." (Hosea 11:1)
Matthew under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, applies the same quote to Jesus in Matthew 2:15. For just as Israel left their country to go to Egypt, so did the child Jesus. And as Israel was led by God out of Egypt, so also was Jesus.
Likewise today, a prophet could use the very same quote given under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to give to a person that God has called out from the world (since Egypt symbolizes the world's system) and into His Kingdom. This is the language of prophecy.
The problem with the parable of the sheep and goats is that the Church fails to understand the language of God which is the language of prophecy subject to God's heart, and interpret this parable as applying strictly only to one level, thus failing to see what Jesus is really saying at all times and on all levels. This would be like interpreting Hosea's prophecy as strictly applying only to God calling the nation of Israel out of Egypt.
By doing this, we have today the various theological interpretations of the parable such as how the nations or "Gentiles" will be judged according to how they treat Israel in the end times, but the failure to understand the requirements of obeying this parable here and now which cuts across selfishness in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. For the Lord revealed that people naturally do not want to be selfless, which is why scriptures that cut across selfishness and challenge it are the most avoided or interpreted as applying strictly to one level, but it is these scriptures that are given as warnings so that His people may have the assurance of our eternal salvation through selflessness.
2. Understanding the parable of the Sheep and the Goats:
First it is important to understand what Jesus is saying in this parable. As with all prophecy, the heart and meaning of the prophecy takes priority over to whom it is applied.
Again looking at the example of
. "out of Egypt I called My Son."
The heart and meaning of this prophecy is that out of Egypt (meaning any worldly, unrighteous place or place that isn't God's plan) does God call out His Son. (whether son means Israel, His own Son , the church , an individual etc..)
These days we don't like to talk about failure, and it is suggested that we shouldn't talk about failure but give labels such as "deferred success" in order to be politically correct. The purpose of this is to give people a feel good factor so as not to upset them. This is a delusion people hide behind in order to elude any effort or requirement on their part to bring any success or achievement in their lives that can only come from selflessness.
Likewise the church doesn't like to talk about Gods judgment, but the Christian must ask themselves NOW on what criteria will they be judged on the Day of Judgment if they were to die tomorrow? The parable of the sheep and goats clearly talks about a judgment day that is going to come, and with this judgment there will also be a separation. A separation between the sheep and the goats. A separation between two animals that have the same shepherd, outwardly look very similar, but in reality live differently.
The church has the same Shepherd and outwardly look the same, but the way they live determines whether they are sheep or whether they are goats.
Just as unbelievers diligently seek the things of this life but avoid issues or conversations dealing with the reality of death and the afterlife, and this prevents them from getting saved, in the same way much of the Church seeks all the promises of God for this life, but avoids the requirement given to them to be totally selfless in order to bring Gods Kingdom on earth, thus jeopardizing their eternal rest and rewards.
This judgment will lead to a separation between those who are truly His people (those who obey the commands of Jesus) and those who are not (the disobedient).
The question is what will be the basis for the separation? What is the criteria that Jesus will use to separate the sheep giving them their inheritance, the kingdom prepared since the creation of the world, and the goats who will be cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels?
Look at what he says in verses 34-36, and also 41-43:
I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, or you gave me nothing to eat.
I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, or you gave me nothing to drink.
I was a stranger, and you welcomed me in, or did not welcome me in.
I needed clothes and you clothed me, or did not clothe me.
I was sick and you looked after me, or did not look after me.
I was in prison and you came to visit me, or did not visit after me.
It is of eternal importance to get hold of what Jesus is saying here. Jesus is not talking here about being kind to people in general, in order to ensure our salvation because the Bible clearly teaches that we are not saved by works but by faith. However, it should be understood that works (which are useless for the Kingdom) are not the same as the works the Lord requires from His people.
Salvation through the grace of God (saved, or made born-again through the Work of the Cross) is different to right standing (eternal salvation, or making it to Heaven).
Salvation is freely given to those who do the work of repentance, likewise, right-standing (different to salvation) is maintained by the work of obedience to the Lords commands, a good example of this is forgiveness.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Mat 6:14-15)
There are two types of works:
Good Works that is, no-one can be saved by good works
Works of the kingdom these are things like forgiving, showing mercy, integrity, obedience, fasting etc these things are a requirement for all those who are saved, those who say otherwise are contradicting everything the Gospels teach.
The Bible also teaches that if we have really trusted Christ, this will make a difference to how we live. So, salvation is a free gift, but the Lord still requires obedience from His people. Those who obey are sheep, those who do not are goats !
So what is Jesus telling us in this Parable?
Jesus is talking very specifically about how we have treated Him and how we have served Him for He says:
I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger... I needed clothes... I was sick... I was in prison...' etc..
Note the emphasis on I.
So the determining factor for this judgment is clearly going to be how we have treated and responded to Jesus Christ himself. The key is in the little sentence that Jesus puts in at the end of both verdicts:
'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.'
'Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.'
Now the question one needs to ask here, is "How do I treat or respond to Jesus Christ Himself since He isn't even on the earth but has been in Heaven ever since his ascension?"
So what's going on here?
Jesus isnt speaking here about the poor, the hungry, or the strangers in the world, because, even though He loves them, they are not His brethren, and here, Jesus is talking about His brethren (those who are born-again).
'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'
(Note: it is right and important that we should care for those in the world and help them, but Jesus is saying something more specific here.)
Jesus is talking particularly about those who count as his brothers and sisters. They count as His brothers and sisters because they are born-again.
For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.
And again: I will put My trust in Him.
And again: Here am I and the children whom God has given Me. (Hebrews 2:11,12)
It should also be understood that however much the Gentile nations feeds or help Israel, it can never save them ! Only those who are sanctified shall go to heaven.
Jesus replied, Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. John 3:3
The following verses show what Jesus has in mind here.
Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the one who sent Me. (Matthew 10: 40-42)
"While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. Someone told Him, 'Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.' He replied to him, 'Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?' Pointing to his disciples, he said, 'Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.' (Matthew 12:46-50)
Putting these quotes together, we clearly see that Jesus is talking about his own people, His true family. He's talking about Christian believers that are obeying Him and because they are obeying Him are therefore His brothers, and are marked with the same sufferings as He was, due to their rejection by the world and His disobedient people (goats).
For when the Lord says Whatsoever you did not do for the least of these brothers of Mine, the Lord is referring not to Israel (who are the chosen of God, but not the brethren of God), but to those who are sanctified, and made born-again, and keep the commands of Christ. Only those who are born-again and are sanctified are brothers of the Lord. However much Israel is favored by God, they are not the brethren of God, nor ever can be until they receive Jesus Christ as Lord !
It is possible that the nations referred to in this scripture refer to all the peoples of the world, the goats (born-again but disobedient) having their place among the unbelievers, whilst the sheep consist of just those who are born-again, and who obeyed Christ. However, when writing this teaching the Lord instructed me not to get too theological about the timing of things and who the nations refer to etc, and gave me this prophecy:
The Lord revealed to me in prophecy that one mustnt get theological about this parable, but to understand the requirement of the Lords heart in this parable which is to help those in need. The timing of this parable is always NOW. irregardless of the prophetic WHEN.
Because if this parable only applied to some future time reference then there wouldnt be any requirement of Gods people living in the NOW to obey what God requires in this parable, which would violate Gods requirements of His people.
Let me tell you why the Judgment of the goats is going to be so severe. Think about it logically. Jesus Christ is not on earth at the moment. The only means He has of executing His plans on this earth are through His obedient brothers and sisters. This obedience comes at a high cost because of the world's persecutions against the plans of God, which can only be executed through His obedient brothers and sisters, meaning that His brothers and sisters are often left without food, drink, shelter , clothes etc
because of persecution against them.
When "His people" (especially those who have enough to share through the blessings they have, which are given to them by God in the first place) are not helping those who are walking in obedience in order to execute the Lords plans on earth, then by not helping, they are a stumbling block and a hindrance to Jesus' plans on earth and the cause of sending many to hell!
In essence they are not coming against the brothers and sisters, but against Christ Himself by preventing Him from spreading the gospel to the world.
Like the enemy who tries to hinder the gospel by what he does, they likewise hinder the gospel by what they don't do, which is why they will be deserving of the same judgment prepared for the devil and his angels in the lake of fire!
* Scriptures showing the severity of preventing the Lords work.
But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. (Mark 14:21)
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in peoples faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. (Matthew 23:13-14)
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)
And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)
He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer. (Proverbs 18:9)
Relating back to what Jesus says in the scriptures where Jesus refers to His family, it is clear that some of the groups he has in mind are those whose work involves taking His message to others, apostles, prophets, ministers, missionaries, evangelists etc..
Such people often have to suffer poverty, overwork, stress, being strangers, being ill, insecurity all because of their work for Jesus.
The goats who do not obey the commands of Christ dont understand this suffering, because they are walking the broad road and see no suffering there, they do not understand selflessness, fasting, grieving for a world going to the lake of fire, or obedience to the Lord on all levels, they only understand a weak gospel which is really no gospel at all, and is sending many to the lake of fire.
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Cor 11:23-30)
Others include those who are being persecuted for their faith, countless Christians around the world who are in prison, have lost their jobs, have been rejected by their families because of their faith in Jesus.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat
On a different (more important) level, being hungry means giving the Word of God free of charge and releasing those from their prisons of ignorance. It means that you dont hinder Jesus Christ in His endeavors to save the world by enforcing copyright laws thus restricting His work, or charging 20 dollars for a CD to your fellow brothers and sisters. Think about it. It is your brothers and sisters that buy your CD's not the world. The world listens to different music. It is enough that they have to suffer poverty and persecution without you charging excess amounts of money or imposing copyright laws.
They also forget that they things given to them belong to God, not to them. Christians are only stewards of what has been freely received, the Lord gives so you can give to others ! For truly it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Many leaders, seem to be under the delusion that the average born-again believer has several hundred dollars set aside just to buy their CDs, DVDs etc, while many ministries and believers can only just afford to pay their monthly expenses. The great tragedy is that those with money often squander it by helping goat ministries!
Caring about Gods plans means that you rightfully divide the Word of God and seek God to show you who His true servants are that are in need of help, so that you do not squander your money to ministries that lack wisdom in the management of their finances because they are concerned more for their selfish needs (which they attain through fine sounding arguments) rather than for Gods kingdom on the earth.
Many are crying out for financial breakthroughs from God in their lives, but how can God release a breakthrough to a person if they themselves wont honor Gods word when they themselves restrict the plans of God in the world. For God is a God of integrity and must honor His Word. Gods kingdom isnt the worlds kingdom that functions through restriction to protect selfish purposes. Restrict others and God will restrict you! Gods kingdom functions on selflessness so that others (as well as yourself) are blessed. Freely you have received, freely give.
This is a prophecy the Lord gave me about copyright:
02 Jan 2010 Regarding the copyright laws that Christians use on the blessings God gives them.
When Jesus Christ died for you, He didnt enforce a copyright law to stop you from dying to self and for others.
The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are His. (Psalm 24:1)
(also see parable of the talents. Matt.25:19-30)
What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge
.1 Cor 9:18
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. Acts 4:32
"-you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who peach against stealing, do you steal?...............You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "Gods name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Romans 2:21-24)
(*note here, that copyright of itself is sometimes useful, however the enforcing of copyright, hindering Christians from sharing the things of the Kingdom is unscriptural. An example of good copyright is © Please share freely, etc. Copyright should only ever be used if it is totally necessary, everything the saints have was given to them to share FREELY !)
A Question Leaders must ask themselves - Do you care about your brothers and sisters ? Do you pray for them ? Do you support them practically ? Do you give what has been given to you generously ? These are the marks of the sheep, but the mark of the goats is the lack of sympathy and concern for Jesus' family which in essence is for Jesus Christ Himself.
And the only difference between the sheep and the goats will be determined by what they did or didn't do!
It is important to understand that even if a person according to your understanding is not walking in obedience to God, the Christian is required according to Matthew 5:38-42 and 44-45 to still bless them and rest in the trust that God will vindicate.
You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
So there is going to be a judgment. And the evidence on which this verdict will be based is how we have treated Jesus Himself through His brothers and sisters.
If you are relying on your faith in Jesus to save you on Judgment day, but you are carrying on living the same kind of selfish life as the people around you who don't believe in Him, Watch out, because the Bible doesn't give you any reassurance at all that you will really be saved. On Judgment day Jesus will look for evidence that you belong to him that evidence is in how you have treated Him through His brothers and sisters.
And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:21)
There is going to be a judgment, and that judgment will lead to sorrow or joy to the fire prepared for the devil and his angels or to the kingdom prepared for the righteous; to eternal suffering or eternal life. That's eternally important.
One must ask themselves on what criteria will a believer be judged at the Judgment if they were to die tomorrow?
Is there anything else more important in this life to think about but to think and meditate as to whether you are going to be separated as a sheep or a goat?
The challenge to Believers is, are you showing your faith by how you live? Particularly, are you showing it by how you treat other Christians. Jesus says, 'whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Called but not chosen:
The Golden Calf - The Separation of Israel:
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, Whoever is for the LORD, come to me. And all the Levites rallied to him. Then he said to them, This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor. The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day. (Exodus 32:25-29)
The Canaanite Spies - The Lord separates Israel into two generations, one having the promise, the other rejected
Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. For forty yearsone year for each of the forty days you explored the landyou will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you. I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die. (Numbers 14:30-35)
The Lord separates Israel the obedient from the disobedient
Then Moses said to Aaron, Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started. So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.
Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped. (Numbers 16:46-50)
The Lord separates His people the worthy from the unworthy
But you have a few people in Sardis who have kept their clothes clean. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Rev 3:4,5)
As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. (Ezekiel 34:17)
And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. (Malachi 3:18)
Understand that God has always worked in this way. Called but not necessarily His.
So it shall be with the sheep and the goats. The former inheriting the kingdom prepared since the creation of the world. The latter being judged into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
As has just been said:
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion. (Hebrews 3:15)
For "I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me. John 13:20
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 1 John 3:17
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? James 2:15-16
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
1 John 2:9-11
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not Gods child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 1 John 3:10
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3:15
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 3 John 1:5
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58:6-12)
Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophets reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous persons reward.
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. Mat 10:42
Then he said to them, Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest. Luke 9:48
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. Tim 6:17-19
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. Acts 4:32
Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me. Luke 10:16
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with themthose who are mistreatedsince you yourselves are in the body also. Heb 13:1-3