The Sheep and the Goats

The Sheep and the Goats

The Sheep and the Goats or "The Judgment of the Nations" was a discourse of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. It is sometimes characterized as a Parable, although unlike most parables it does not purport to relate a story of events happening to other characters.

One theory is that it tells of the judgment, see also Last Judgment, and division of all the world's people into the blessed, who are welcomed by the Father, and the cursed, who are cast out. The division is entirely based on the acts of kindness and mercy done by people to their disadvantaged fellow men; Jesus identifies such kindness with kindness towards himself.

An alternative interpratation, one found by John Gill, is that the disadvantaged men spoken of are actually fellow Christians. And so instead of the division between blessed and cursed being on good works it is based on ones response to the people and message of Christ's Church.

Text of the passage

The text of the passage appears in Matthews Gospel, and is the final portion of a section containing a series of parables. From bibleref|Matthew|25:31–46 (NRSV):

:31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and He will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at His right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”’

:41 ‘Then He will say to those at His left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45 Then He will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

ee also

*Corporal works of mercy
*Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
*Second ComingJohn Gill's commentary []

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