Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:05 AM

Judgment of Gentiles

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:05 AM
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:05 AM

The fourth section concerns the judgment of the Gentiles. The Olivet Discourse comes to an end with the judgment of the Gentiles in Matthew 25:31–46. The timing of the judgment will be after the Second Coming of the Messiah when the Throne of David will be set up according to verse 31: But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: …

The place of the judgment is not given in this passage, but it is found in a parallel passage, Joel 3:1–3. This is a judgment that will take place just outside the City of Jerusalem in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which lies between the city and the Mount of Olives.

The subjects of the judgment are individuals in verses 32–33: … and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

This will be an individual judgment rather than a national one. The Greek word translated nations has the primary meaning of “Gentiles” and is so translated elsewhere in the New Testament. All the Gentiles who survive the Tribulation and the Campaign of Armageddon will be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat and will then be separated by the Messiah; some are brought to His left side and some are brought to His right side. Those brought to His right are called the sheep Gentiles, and those brought to His left are called the goat Gentiles.

The basis of this judgment is going to be anti-Semitism or pro-Semitism in verses 34–45. Individual Gentiles will be judged on the basis of their treatment of the Messiah’s brethren, namely, the Jewish people during the Tribulation. The term brethren here is used in the sense of “brethren in the flesh.” Some people have tried to make the term brethren in this passage refer to saints in general, but this would render the passage meaningless. There are three specific groups mentioned in this passage: the sheep Gentiles, the goat Gentiles, and the brethren. If the brethren are saints in general, then who are the sheep, since they, too, have eternal life? It would be very confusing to make both the sheep and the brethren as saints of the same caliber. From this context alone, it should be very evident that the brethren must refer to Jewish people because the saints are the sheep and the unsaved are the goats. Furthermore, the parallel passage of Joel 3:1–3 makes it without a doubt that these brethren are the Jewish people of the Tribulation.

The judgment of the sheep Gentiles is in verses 34–40: 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: for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungry, and fed you? or athirst, and gave you drink? And when saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? And when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came unto you? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.

The sheep, who are the pro-Semites, are clearly stated to be the righteous ones. Will they be saved, then, because of their pro-Semitism? This cannot be, for that would mean their salvation was purely on the basis of works. This passage is an example of James 2:14–26, proving one’s faith by one’s works. Because these Gentiles are already believers in the Lord Jesus the Messiah, they will refuse to join the policy of the Antichrist in his attempt to destroy the Jews. So while Jews will undergo a great persecution, these believing Gentiles will do what they can to help the Jews under these conditions. Their works toward the Messiah’s brethren will prove their faith. In this manner, they are the ones who will be watching, ready, and laboring in accordance with the admonitions of the five parables. Because they are saved Gentiles, they will be allowed to enter into the Messianic Kingdom, and they will be the ones who will populate the Gentile nations during the Messianic Age.

The judgment of the goat Gentiles is in verses 41–45: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; 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. Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto you? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.

On the other hand, the goats will be the anti-Semites who, because of their unbelief in Jesus, will join the ranks of the persecutors under the Antichrist’s authority. They will show their lack of faith by their works. They are the ones who will not be watching, ready or laboring, in violation of the five parables. For this reason, they will be killed at this point and will be excluded from the Messianic Kingdom.

The ultimate and final result after the Kingdom is in verse 46: And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

The believing Gentiles will enter into eternal life while the unbelieving Gentiles will enter into eternal punishment.[1]



[1] Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1983). Vol. 28: The Messianic Bible Study Collection (24–25). Tustin, Calif.: Ariel Ministries.

« back