America in the Kingdom Parables
C.O. Stadslkev - 1959
The Sheep and Goat Nations
With the exception of the Parable of the Tares in Matthew 13, the Parable of the Sheep and Goat Nations in Matthew 25:31-46 is perhaps one of the most interesting, revealing and encouraging parables for us living in the closing days of the present age.
Those who teach that the Lord's kingdom parables are Church parables use this parable to teach that personal salvation is by works and good deeds clone to other people. And if the Lord's parables are Church parables dealing with personal salvation then personal salvation is by works.
But such is not the case. All scripture from Genesis to Revelation teaches most emphatically that personal salvation and regeneration never has been and never could be by works of righteousness that we have done. Personal salvation has always been by grace through faith in the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we look back to Calvary and believe and receive Christ as our Savior who died for our sins and arose for our justification, so believers before Calvary looked forward to Calvary and believed God's promise that the Messiah would come and atone for all sin. The believers who lived prior to Calvary demonstrated their faith by sacrificing lambs and goats, not that the blood of mere animals could or did atone for sin, but every animal sacrifice in Old Scripture time typified the mercy, forgiveness, and deliverance that would come to mankind as a result of Calvary.
The first statement in the Parable of the Sheep and Goat nations shows clearly that this is an end time parable or prophecy.
It gives the time as "When the Son of man shall come in his glory.' The next verse in the parable states, "And before him shall be gathered all nations (not all churches or all Christians but all nations): and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (verse 32).
How can anyone teach that this is a Church parable dealing with personal salvation when the Lord so clearly stated "before him shall be gathered all nations?" This a parable on the separation and judgment of nations which takes place at the end of this age and the full manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Verse 33 states, "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."
Since we are living in the end time, we are not surprised to find that the separation of nations has already begun. The sheep nations are on the right and are spoken of as rightists. The goat nations are on the left and are spoken of as leftists.
In verse 34 we read, "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."
"Come ye blessed of my Father" is addressed to the sheep nations on the right. In this parable we have a number of identification marks which identify the nations of Christendom as the sheep nations.
Psalm 78:52 - "But (God) made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock."' Jeremiah 50:6 - "'My people hath been lost sheep." In verse 17 of the same chapter of Jeremiah we read, "Israel is a scattered sheep." In Matthew 15:24 Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Jesus was sent to the only people who as a people have received Him and believed in Him, namely, Anglo-Saxondom.
These same people have been blessed of the Father far beyond any other people and as nations of Christendom they are on the right and in opposition to the goat nations on the left.
Verses 35 through 40 further identify, and unmistakeably so, the nations of Christendom as the sheep nations.
In these verses the Lord commends the sheep nations by saying, "For I was an hungred, 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 sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
The sheep nations reply, "When did we do all these things unto thee?" Verse 40 - "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one oĢ the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
It is not difficult to understand what is meant by "these my brethren" for in Matthew 12:50 Jesus said, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." So then, the individual Christian who believes in Christ is His brother. Needless to say, the nations of Christendom have been more considerate toward Christians, the King's brethren, than any other group of nations.
In case some one might have difficulty with verse 37 where the sheep nations are called "the righteous" we should cite Isaiah 54:17 where God speaks of Israel, His servant race, and says, "their righteousness is of me." In other words, due to the redemption of Israel, which was accomplished at Calvary, the King sees the sheep nations as righteous. This is not a righteousness of their own, but the righteousness which is of God through the redemption at Calvary.
Returning to the Parable of the Sheep and Goat Nations let us note verse 41: "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting (age long) fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Prior to the rise and spread of World Communism, it would have been difficult to see how the rulers of a whole block of nations could be told, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." But with what we know today concerning the communists and communism, it is both scriptural and right that they should be committed to everlasting fire. "Everlasting fire" does not mean literal fire anymore than the sheep and goats in this parable are literal sheep and goats. "Fire" when used in symbolic scripture symbolizes cleansing as well as punishment and destruction of that which is completely evil.
We read the following in verses 44 through 46, which close the Lord's parable on the separation and the judgment of the sheep and goat nations:
"Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."