by Gavin Finley MD
SCRIPTURE PASSAGE, MATTHEW 25:31-4631. "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy 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 them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of 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 drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36. I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
37. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38. When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39. Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40. And the King will answer and say to them,
'Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
41. Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting 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 no drink;
43. I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
44. Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'
45. Then He will answer them, saying,
'Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch 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 everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
EMAIL FROM NIGEL
As a post-tribber I find the sheep and goats judgment the hardest to understand. I believe in biblical predestination of the elect. We read in Matt 25:33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
There is no getting away from it these are elected sheep. So at this point I can't see how to fit them into the Millenium unless they are the same sheep who have been raptured but now the Lord is rewarding them before the nations.
I have read you article. I am still not convinced. Please could you send me links to support the fact that they are different sheep than the elect.
The Millennial citizenship issue is a problem for many. So is Messianic favor granted through a third party. People ask this question. If the wicked are damned and the saved are Resurrected or Raptured then who is left to populate the Millennium? The answer is "plenty of people". There are perhaps a billion children of whom Jesus once said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of heaven. Then there are those who mourn at the Second Coming and those who never heard the Gospel and many who are not blatantly wicked but they never got a chance to hear the Gospel or be saved. Again, Jesus has stated, "Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted".
Now we come to the second order covenant. Many non Christians will have ministered to persecuted Christians, people who knew Messiah and were His friends. Now Messiah come at the end of the age and He is looking to show favor to those who showed blood covenant lovingkindness to His friends, the persecuted hungry thirsty poorly clothed tribulation saints. He is coming back at the sheep-goat judgment to find these people. Yes, they are not Christians, - yet. But He fully intends to show kindness to them for the kindness they showed to those who were in trouble and in blood covenant connection to Him.
Let's look at the three groups. Remember that one group are still in their mortal bodies. There are the wicked, gathered first as tares for the fires. (Mat. 13:30) Then there are the Elect of this age, the living and the dead who will be glorified into new spiritual bodies in the Resurrection-Rapture at the last day. And then there are the others who Messiah judges of the nations or the gentiles or the heathen, those being the sheep and the goats, still left in their mortal bodies. The goats are not given entry into the Millennium but are judged as the wicked. Then there are the sheep who are given entry into the Millennium. Remember that they are still in their mortal bodies with the opportunity to also be the Elect, but these Elect will eventually be gathered out of the Millennial age, the age to come.
Messiah judges the sheep and the goats. The sheep are given favor and a passport for Millennial entry based upon second order covenant or what we might call a third party blood covenant connection to Messiah. The sheep do not know Messiah personally, or else they would be glorified with the Elect of this age. The end of this age comes but the Redeemer and the Refiner has still not yet finished His work among men on earth. His ministry will continue in the 1,000 years to come. The number of people in the Elect gathered from the Millennium to come may be enormous. It may very well eclipse the Elect gathered out of this present evil age. Perhaps the little dipper and big dipper, (these were in ancient times called little sheepfold and big sheepfold), represent the elect saints of each age.
Thank you for taking the trouble to return my e mail. You refer to "Messianic favor granted through a third party " I have never heard of this teaching none of the epistles teach is so I can't go along with that. You then say " Then there are those who mourn at the Second Coming and those who never heard the Gospel and many who are not blatantly wicked but they never got a chance to hear the Gospel or be saved"
Firstly at particularly the last days that Jesus himself spoke about in Mt 24:14 we read "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Everybody without exception will hear the gospel. Rev 14:6 makes the further statement that an angel would preach the good news to those who dwell on the earth "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth——to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people".
So again I am sorry I can't go with that idea as everyone will hear. The only reason they are mourning is from regret and fear. Secondly and to pick up with the latter part of your statement you say "many who are not blatantly wicked" Scripture clearly tells us Rom. 3:10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; , "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, [Rom. 3:10, John 3:36, Rom. 1:18 ]
You also speak of "blood covenant lovingkindness to His friends" Sorry to sound harsh but what kind of biblical term is this. If we are talking about His elect sheep chosen from before the foundations of the world both Jew and Gentile (John 10) then OK But that blood shed only saves those who believe. And Hell waits for those who don't.
Now regarding children, this is a reasonable scripture teaches" Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of heaven." But this is only saying as Jesus did to His disciples " don't prevent children from coming to Christ. There is no specific mention about God protecting children from His wrath. Although God is Sovereign.
You also point out that "He is coming back at the sheep-goat judgment to find these people. Yes, they are not Christians,"
I am afraid they are Christians. Matt 25:34 says "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
These sheep have been elected to inherit the Kingdom from when? From when Christ comes after the tribulation to find those who have been loving to His brethren? No from the foundation of the world.
I am sorry but this is a very difficult issue and one I must say challenges what ever view one has of the rapture. Now I believe in a post tribulation one time return of Christ before the Millenium. I can also see that there will be gentiles who have to go up each year at the feast of tabernacles as found in Zech 14:19 (NKJV) This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. As how they get into the Millenium is the question that needs a Biblical answer even if it means laying down one well thought out views of the return of Christ.
Lastly we know that when Jesus will stand on the mount olives and the Jews who are Jews the remnant will be saved. These will be in the millenium. Zec 14:4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Zec 14:5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You.
So Gavin the issue as I see it is how do the gentiles get into the Millenium?
Thank you for your thoughtful letter. Are you a minister of the Gospel by chance? I appreciate your understanding of there being one single Elect. This sounds like a Presbyterian emphasis but you are clearly not Amil since you believe in a coming Millennium of Messiah.
Here in America we need some clear teaching on the Elect and who the Elect will comprise at the end of this age. American dispensationalist theology, after Darby, and Skofield, has set forth a two headed theological monster, something I call an "apartheid of the Elect". Bible teachers over here insist on an eternal wall of separation between "The Church and Israel". It is setting the Church and the Jewish nation up for a train wreck. When we get into eschatology this is causing all sorts of twisted, strained, and contorted, eschatology including an "Age of Grace" that comes to a screeching halt seven years before the end of the age. Some are then going on to say that the Jewish remnant and the tribulation saints of Revelation 7 will have to "keep the Law" to be saved inside this future 70th Week. They also say that the omnipresent Holy Spirit will skip out of part of His cosmos and not be on earth during the 70th Week. They say He will have vacated the planet for those final seven years. They also incorrectly characterize the great tribulation as God's wrath. So for them the final 7 years of this age is nothing but a wrath zone instead of a time in which a loving God is pleading with men to return to Him..
I accept your correction on the issue of the Gospel being preached to all nations before the Day of the Lord opens up for judgment at the end of this age. You are quite right. We are told that even angels will preach the everlasting Gospel. I will go back into my article and correct that issue and any statement that I made to the effect that "Many will not have had a chance to hear the Gospel". I was wrong there. Thank you for pointing this out. I will fix the article and my correct my erroneous statements.
The teaching of God's blessing and favor being granted to non-Christians is something I too had never hear of. I have never heard it preached or taught. Ministers and Bible teachers are quite rightly concerned that when it comes to the Pearly Gates at the end of our mortal life we not give the masses any hope of getting into Eternity with God by any other route than the Gospel and by a direct personal relationship with God through the blood of Christ.
Let me make this point very clearly. We are saved to enter eternity only through a personal commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord. But here at the Sheep-Goat Judgment we are not looking at people on the threshold of eternity. They are not AT the Pearly Gates. No, not at all. They are mortals. That is point #1. And they are on earth. That is point #2. Messiah has arrived on earth. These people of the nations are ones left after the wicked have been plucked up as tares for the fires and after the saints, the living and the dead, have been glorified at the Resurrection-Rapture at the end of this age. Here at the Sheep-Goat judgment the heathen, (and lets face it, this is what the word "gentile" means from a Biblical perspective), are being judged. Judged for what? Judged for entry into heaven? No. They are not being judged for entry into heaven. They are being judged for entry into the Millennium of Messiah.
Here at the sheep-goat judgment Messiah has arrived on earth and is in a spiritual body just as we saw Him ascend into heaven 2,000 years ago. Now He is back. And He is issuing passports for His Millennial Kingdom.
Messiah has every right to do this. This is not the Bema judgment of those who are saved. Nor is it a Pearly Gate judgment into eternity with God. This is a judgment of heathen nations, a judgment od mortals here on earth when Messiah comes to earth to reign.
Now for this matter of God's blessing and favor being granted to non Christians, or people who do not have a direct blood covenant relationship to Messiah. As we look carefully at the Scripture passage in Matthew 25 we see that Jesus Himself is quite clearly saying that these people are NOT His brethren. He says "Inasmuch as you did this to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me". So here we see clearly stated the fact that these favored ones, favored gentiles, favored "goyim", favored "outsiders to the covenant", favored aliens and strangers, yes, favored heathen are given entry into the Kingdom of God.
Now are these favored ones being given entry Into a heavenly kingdom? Yes and no. It is a heavenly kingdom inasmuch as Messiah has brought it down from heaven and established it on earth to make an earthly kingdom. And yet it is also the Kingdom of God coming down Jacob's ladder to be established on earth as Messiah's Millennial Kingdom .
Gnostics hate this. And there is much pagan gnosticism hidden in Christian and Jewish religion. Gnostics insist that heaven is the good box and earth is the bad box and never the twain shall meet. This boxing up of heaven and earth as good and evil is a pagan mindset and it is aided and abetted by our Greek Hellenistic thinking. But God is bigger than our thinking. He calls us to think and believe Biblically and to receive His revealed Biblical truth from "outside the box".
Here is an example. If the Bible ratifies election and also ratifies free will as "whosoever will may come" then both are true. End of discussion. So our Greek sophistry and our religious arguments may as well end right there. This would save a lot of chin wagging and wasted time.
So here at the sheep-goat judgment we see heathen gentiles favored and blessed. They stand before Messiah, not as the dear departed at the pearly gates of heaven but still in their mortal bodies. And we see and their mortal lives are extended by Messiah. This is not entry into heaven. Tey can still allow the flesh to take them away from salvation in Messiah during the Millennium. Then they will be damnned at the White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennial age to come. Entry is merely given to them into Messiah's heavenly-earthly kingdom.
This sounds strange and new because very few are even thinking about these matters except premill post-trib Christians such as you and I. Although this doctrine is somewhat special, (and for many the matter of the sheep-goat judgment seems arcane), this is quite different from the judgment for entry into heaven. This favor of Messiah granted to mortals left at the end of this age. It must of necessity be a third party covenant. And why? Because the heathen being favored here most certainly do not have a direct first order covenant with Messiah. Or He would not be judging them at the sheep-goat judgment. This is a judgment of individuals who belong to the heathen gentile nations. If these people were the Elect saved out of this age then they would not be at the sheep-goat judgment. The sheep-goat judgment is a sorting out of the heathen gentiles. The Elect will not be there. They will not be left-over mortals being sorted out under the rod of Messiah. By that time they will have been glorified and will be in new spiritual bodies.
Now let me ask you a question here Nigel. You have been elected and saved and now have the indwelling Christ inside you, right? You have been saved by the atoning blood of Israel's promised Sacrifice Lamb, correct? Here is the pivotal question for you to answer.
Are you a gentile?
Or do you belong to Israel?