A Scriptural& Chronological Exposition of the
Olivet Discourse…..Part V
By Pastor F. M. Riley
August 31, 2013
“Studyto show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.
CONTINUED FROM PART IV
The first four parts of this exposition of the Olivet Discourse will be sent to any reader upon request. Our postal mailing address and email address is at the end of this study.
In Part I of the Olivet Discourse given by our Lord in Matthew 24:1-31, the prophecies of the Lord were examined verse by verse, and word by as necessary. Part II, Matthew 24:32-51, the Lord’s own commentary on His prophecies set forth in the first 31 verses of the chapter were examined. In Part III, Matthew 25:1-13, The Parable of the Ten Virgins was examined. In Part IV, Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Talents was examined. Now we turn our attention to Part V, Matthew 25:31-46, the final part of the Olivet Discourse, and that which the Lord Himself indicates will bring to a close everything connected with the Tribulation period preceding His Kingdom. Join us once again for a study that hopefully will enlighten and bless the hearts and minds and lives of all readers who are genuine seekers of the truth…….
The Judgment of the Sheep and Goats
Notice immediately that this is not a parable. In this account the Lord Jesus Christ is telling His people exactly to the letter how the survivors of the Tribulation still alive in their natural bodies will be dealt with, just before the Millennial Kingdom is ready to begin functioning on the earth.
The Lord God pointed out this truth as He began speaking, by saying, “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him [compare 24:30-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9] then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory,” 25:31. There is then no question that this judgment occurs following the return of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation, but just before His long awaited Kingdom is established and begins to function upon the earth, Daniel 2:44.
Why am I laboring this point? Because someof the nations that are in existence today, may be allowed to continue to exist as nations in the future Millennial Kingdom, but some present day nations will vanish from human history forever, depending on the outcome of this judgment.
Who is it that will be judged?
“And before Him shall be gathered all nations; [gentiles; heathen] and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats,” 25:32.
A better translation of the word “nations” in this Scripture would have been “Gentiles,” for the same Greek word that is translated as “nations” in the New Testament is also translated as both “Gentiles” and “Heathen.” Look it up in your own Concordance or Lexicon and read it for yourself, Strong’s No. 1484. It is, or should be, obvious that it is individual survivors of the
Tribulation which are being judged, all of them being Gentiles of various nationalities and races. In fact, some of them at this judgment may be the former rulers of their nations.
What some believers fail to notice in studying Bible prophecy is that when Christ comes at the end of the Tribulation, His coming will not be a sudden or instant event, such as at the time of the rapture. Rather the Lord Himself explicitly states in 24:30 that His “sign” will first appear in the heavens, followed by His appearance in the heavens as He comes with all of His Holy Angels, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8. This will apparently take place over several minutes, several hours, or even a day or two, for all of surviving humanity on the earth at that time will see this event taking place in the heavens with their own eyes. Read it for yourself in 24:30 and Revelation 1:7.
As the people on the earth at that time watch the coming of the Lord unfolding before their eyes, there is little question that some of them will turn to the Lord in repentance and faith, calling upon Him for mercy and salvation. Therefore there will be both Jews and Gentiles who survive the Tribulation. Those Jews who survive will with one accord call upon and receive the Lord as their Savior, thus fulfilling to the letter Matthew 24:13. But while some of the Gentiles will call on the Lord and be saved when they see Him coming, not all of them will do so. It is the surviving Gentiles of various nationalities who will then be brought before the Lord at this judgment and separated as “sheep from the goats, 25:32.”
What the division is based upon…
“And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left,” 25:33.
It is glaringly obvious in many places in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that these two terms, “sheep” and “goats,” are assigned repeatedly to the saved (sheep) and the unsaved (goats). Therefore, every person brought before the Lord at this judgment is an individual. We know this to be true, because it is not nations who receive or reject Christ as their Savior, but rather individuals. A nation is made up of individuals, but it is only individual souls who are candidates for salvation. Salvation is offered to “whosoever believeth,” John 3:16. God mercifully saves individual people who receive Christ as their Savior. So the “sheep” in this account are Gentiles who have individually received Christ as their Savior. The “goats” are those individual Gentiles who have rejected Christ and are still lost in their sin.
There is also a second basis on which the division is made, which we will say more about when we come to that place in our exposition of each of these Scriptures.
Who exactly is judged?
I want now to narrow this down a bit with Scripture that is commonly overlooked or ignored.
In the ancient history of Israel is an account of a battle between Israel and the Amorites, Joshua [a vivid type of Christ] being the leader of the Israelite forces. See Joshua 10:1-27. This account is generally referred to as “Joshua’s long day.” The Amorites were led in their warfare against Israel by five kings, 10:1-5. This account tells us that as the battle went badly for the Amorites, these five kings hid themselves in a cave, 10:16. Since the battle was still going on, Joshua gave the command to roll stones before the entrance to the cave and seal the five kings in until the battle was over. After the Lord God had given Joshua and Israel a great victory, then Joshua commanded his men to take away the stones and bring the five kings out of the cave, and before him for judgment. Joshua then judged the kings, slew them, and hanged them on trees, Joshua 10:26.
That this account is typical of the battle that shall be fought by the Lord as the Tribulation is brought to an end is beyond question. It was during this battle that Joshua gave the command for the Sun to stand still in the heavens, 10:12-13. The inspired Word explicitly says, “And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened to
the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel,” 10:14.
I would remind our readers again of Solomon’s statement in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” See also Ecclesiastes3:15.
Now turn and read the prophecy of the Lord’s return to fight for Israel in Zechariah 14:6-7,
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Glory to God! Praise the Lord! The very same thing that happened in the days of Joshua and ancient Israel will happen again when Christ returns to defeat and destroy His enemies and the enemies of Israel. Hallelujah! Isn’t our God great?
But let’s not stop here! The entire chapter of Isaiah 24 contains a detailed account of the judgments poured out on the earth during the coming Tribulation period. At some point during “the day of the Lord” the Scriptures explicitly state, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited,” Isaiah 24:21-22. In other words, just like those in Joshua’s army shut up the five kings in the cave until the battle was over, in similar repetition to what Joshua had commanded centuries before, the Lord God is going to confine “the kings of the earth” for a period of time “in the pit.” Why “the kings of the earth?”
Folks, put the pieces together. None of these sorry kings and rulers today lead their nation’s military troops in battle. None of them! Just like those five kings of old, the kings and rulers of the nations today sit back in the luxury of their palaces and palatial mansions [like the White House] and live the “good life” while ordering your sons and your daughtersinto battle to suffer hardship, be wounded or maimed or blinded for life, or killed. It is the kings and rulers of the nations today who decide whether they will order a war to be fought at any given time and place. And it is the kings and rulers of the nations who consider themselves too important and valuable to go out on the battlefield and lead the troops. Yet every one of these sorry “politicians from hell” want to be the “Commander in Chief” of their respective nation’s military. Sic! It is your sons and daughters whom these kings and rulers of the nations consider to be expendable. It is not the kings and rulers of the nations who fight these wars and battles. If it was there would be far fewer wars today, and you can believe that!
But obviously the Lord God of Heaven does not condone this situation. One of the titles of the Lord God is “The Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6. Just like Joshua did centuries before Him, the Lord God is going to round up and confine these kings and rulers of the nations at some point during the Tribulation, lock them up until the Tribulation is over, and then bring them forth to be judged. Who would better represent a nation and a people than its king or ruler? So it is likely that some of those at this “judgment of the nations” in Matthew 25:31-46 will be the kings and rulers confined in Isaiah 24:21-22. Glory to God! Hallelujah! What a just and righteous God we believers serve today!
The Judgment in Process
This needs to be studied very carefully, for while it is a judgment of individuals, the result of this judgment will decide the fate of whole nations or peoples which the individual represents, and the outcome of the judgment will determine whether that nation and people will continue and enter the Millennial Kingdom, or whether that nation and people will pass from human history forever.
“Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, [the sheep] Come, ye blessed of My Father, inheritthe kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty; and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me,” 25:34-36.
Notice that this is a shocking statement to the “sheep” being judged here. They do not understand this statement made to them, because as individuals they cannot recall doing any of
“Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee hungry and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? 25:37-39.
It is possible that as individuals, these “sheep” did not do these things, yet their nation which they represent may have done them.
It is at this point that Christ sets forth a wonderful truth that God’s people should have been practicing in every dispensation and period of time in human history. The reply of the Lord Jesus Christ to these “sheep” Gentiles is, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me,” 25:40.
Notice that at this point, the Lord refers to “one of the least of these My brethren.” This is obviously a reference to the Lord’s Jewish brethren according to the flesh. The statement implies that the Lord’s Jewish brethren are present at this judgment, although they are not being judged. Rather, the Lord’s Jewish “brethren”are witnesses, viewing the judicial proceedings as the Lord God deals with these Gentiles.
In this account we are made aware of the second determination for judgment of these Gentiles. The first determination was whether they were “sheep” or “goats.” The Jewish brethren are not being judged, but rather are there as “witnesses” of the judicial proceedings. This second determination for judgment comes down to how these Gentiles being judged treated the Jewish people, especially during the Tribulation period. Read Genesis 12:3 again and let the truth stated there soak in.
Folks, during the Tribulation the Jews literally will be hungry and thirsty as they flee from the anti-christ at the middle of the Tribulation when he sets up “the abomination of desolation” and demands that the Jews worship his pagan image, 24:15-22; Revelation 13:14-15. The Jewish people will literally be sick, likely from chemical weapons used against them and from the plagues and pestilences poured out upon the earth during the Tribulation, and they will be “imprisoned” in Petra for the last three and a half years of the Tribulation. Fleeing into Petra, which is located in southern Jordan, means that they will be “strangers” or “foreigners” having fled into another nation’s land for refuge. Due to the severe economic conditions that will exist during the Tribulation, there is little doubt that some of the Jewish people will desperately need food and water, and clothing to cover their nakedness. Compare Isaiah 3:6-7.
In Revelation 12 it is explicitly stated twice that the woman [Israel] flees into the wilderness, Revelation 12:6 and 12:14. Carefully notice verse 6, “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” This makes it quite plain that some of the Gentile peoples on earth during the Tribulation will have mercy on the Jewish people and will be willing to defy the anti-christ in order to provide food, water, and other necessities for the Jewish people while the Jews are shut up in Petra. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Glory to God!
In judging these “sheep” Gentiles, the Lord God explicitly tells the “sheep” Gentiles, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” Matthew 25:34. This clearly indicates that these surviving “sheep” Gentiles will be among the nations which will continue to exist during the Millennial Kingdom, and perhaps right on into the Eternal Age. That there will be “nations” on the new earth following the Millennial Kingdom is quite obvious from the statements made in Revelation 21:24, 21:26,and22:2.
Notice also that the Lord explicitly states that “the Kingdom” to be inherited by these “sheep” Gentiles had already been decided upon by God “from the foundation of the world.” This magnifies the “foreknowledge” of Almighty God, and assures true Bible believers that the God
we believers serve has had knowledge of and control of every event to be worked out in human
history right from the beginning. Hallelujah! How great is our God!
After judging the “sheep” Gentiles, the Lord God then turns His attention to the “goat” Gentiles. While He had told the “sheep” Gentiles to “inherit the Kingdom prepared” for them, sadly, He tells these “goat” Gentiles, “Depart from Me; ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” 25:41. While the Lord had said that the “sheep” Gentiles had given Him food and drink, took Him in, clothed Him, and visited Him, He tells the “goat” Gentiles exactly the opposite. They had not given Him food and drink, had not took Him in or clothed Him, and had notvisited Him when He was in prison, 25:42-43.. Their response was also one of shock, followed by an effort to justify themselves. But once again the Lord told them that since they had not done those things on behalf of His “brethren,” they had not done it for Him, 25:45. Folks, this principle is the bottom line! How you treat the Jewish people (and fellow believers) is a reflection of your attitude about the Lord Himself, for the Lord God is repeatedly identified with His people throughout the Scriptures from Genesisthrough Revelation. How you treat others, and in this case, the Jewish people, the Lord’s “brethren,”either reveals your personal love for the Lord, or a personal offense against the Lord! Take heed! 1 Corinthians 10:30-33.
The Outcome of this Judgment
The final outcome of this judgment is summed up in one Scripture, Matthew 25:46, which says, “And these [the goats on the Lord’s left hand] shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous [the sheep on the Lord’s right hand] into life eternal.”
I want to emphasize again to our readers that both groups of these Gentiles being judged are survivors of the Tribulation period living in their natural bodies.
The “goats” quite obviously go into eternal damnation, a place of “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” 25:41. Since the Lord Jesus Christ Himself explicitly states that “everlasting fire” was “prepared for the devil and his angels,” then it was obviously not the Lord’s intention that mankind should ever go there. However, the laws of God cannot be ignored or circumvented by anyone, neither angelic spirits nor men. It is still true, according to the law of God, that “Whatsoever a man [or spirit, or nation] soweth, that shall he also reap,” Galatians 6:7-8. Human history has demonstrated this truth over and over again. If wicked angels or wicked men choose to follow Satan in his wickedness, then there is no question that they will spend eternity in the same place Satan is going to spend eternity; “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” a place of “everlasting punishment,” 25:46. Hello!
On the other hand, the “sheep” have an entirely different future. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself clearly states that the “righteous” enter into “eternal life,” 25:46. I would remind our readers again that Christ in this judgment is speaking to saved people in their natural bodies who have survived the Tribulation period. Christ said the “sheep” enter into “eternal life.” Some readers can attempt to explain this away if they choose to do so, but I never did learn the “fine art” [?] of making the Lord out to be “a liar.” I accept the Lord’s statement at face value as literal truth.
These “sheep” Gentiles will enter into “eternal life” in their natural bodies. Their present “sin nature” will be removed, and they will live eternally in their natural bodies. I suggest that those readers who find this hard to believe should carefully study Psalm 92, noticing especially verses 6-15. Note well that verses 12-15 speak specifically of “the righteous.” It is stated explicitly in 92:14 of “the righteous” that “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;” In other words, if they want a new baby around the house, they will be able to bear children even when they are hundreds of years old, and every baby born will be born without “pain,” Revelation 21:4. Glory to God! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Those readers who would like more Scriptural insight into this subject should request my study entitled, “The Secret of the New Covenant.” It will be sent upon request.
The completion of this judgment will bring a closure to everything associated with the Tribulation period. Following this judgment the Lord God will devote His full attention to setting up His Millennial Kingdom and establishing His righteous government upon the earth among those of mankind who have survived the Tribulation. Read Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-6, Ezekiel 40 – 48, Micah 4:1-5 and many other prophetic Scriptures pertaining to the Millennial Kingdom.
This also concludes my five part exposition of the Olivet Discourse as set forth in Matthew 24 – 25. I hope every reader has gleaned something from this exposition which has been enlightening and a blessing to them personally, and which they can use to enlighten and bless others. Any reader who has not received all five parts of this exposition, but would like to have the whole exposition, is urged to request any of the missing studies. They will be sent to any reader upon request. There is no cost nor obligation. I read Proverbs 23:23 and Matthew 10:8 many years ago, and have sought to practice the truth set forth in those Scriptures throughout the many years I have been in the Lord’s ministry. It is my joy and blessing to share the truth of the Word with God’s people, and with lost souls who are sincerely seeking the Lord. God bless you all.
I want to emphasize to our readers that the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse is staring humanity in the face RIGHT NOW! Most of the discourse will be fulfilled during the Tribulation period, and the Tribulation is staring humanity in the face RIGHT NOW. Are you ready to face what is coming imminently? Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, and have the assurance that you are a true believer? Folks, at any time now the Lord Jesus is coming to resurrect and rapture His New Covenant believers to glory, immediately followed by the terrible Tribulation coming upon all humanity left behind on the earth. Will you be raptured to glory and escape the terrors and death of the Tribulation [Luke 21:36], or will you be left here on the earth to enter into and have to face the judgments of the Tribulation? It is a personal saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that makes the difference. If any reader is not saved, I beg you to seek the Lord today for His salvation. May God grant His grace to every reader is my prayer. I want to meet you in glory when the Lord comes. Please don’t disappoint me.
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Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or to: firstname.lastname@example.org