Separating The Sheep from The Goats

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”  – Matthew 25:31, ESV

 

This scripture is a familiar passage found in the New Testament.

In this context, Jesus is explaining to his disciples the day of his return. In Matthew chapter 24, we see Jesus sit upon the Mount of Olives and reveal to his disciples the signs of the close of the age and of his return:

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” – Matthew 24:3, ESV

Jesus then begins to give his disciples what they asked for, revealing to them what the signs of the close of the age will be and the signs of his return.

 


 

So what is the point of this scripture?

Why does Jesus lead his disciples into asking him about the end of the world? And does this message still apply to us today?

 

Well, I ask you:

Do the signs of the Close of the Age listed in the bible, and what has happened in the world in the most recent months/years line up?

 

Let’s explore:

Continuing in Matthew chapter 24, Jesus breaks down the signs of the close of the age by saying,

“See that no one leads you stray. For many will come in my name, saying ‘I am Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”  – Matthew 24:4, ESV

Now this passage of scripture has been interpreted in many different ways.

So what does Jesus really mean when he says people will come in his name, saying “I am Christ”?

Are there actually going to be people declaring that they are Jesus Christ?

Not quite.

I believe it’s a little bit deeper than that.

Let’s look at the character of Jesus Christ. In scripture, Jesus is defined as “The Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus represents the love of God, the comforter to bear all of our burdens, and the one to restore peace in our lives.

So when Jesus is saying, “many will come in my name saying, ‘I am Christ,'” what I believe Jesus is really saying here is that people will come proclaiming to represent the characteristics of Jesus Christ.

Many people will actually come and try to make others believe that they are the ones who will restore peace in their lives, and that they are the ones who represent the love of God, when in fact, these false teachers that Jesus is referring to are actually deceitful liars.

I myself have witnessed these false teachers that Jesus speaks of, in the form of business professionals, entrupenuers and even pastors.

By making this bold statement to his disciples, Jesus is warning us all not to trust everything that we see and hear. We must practice using discernment in ALL things.

 

Let’s continue:

Jesus goes on to tell his disciples,

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.”  – Matthew 24:6, ESV

I think this statement goes without saying. Clearly we can all attest to this statement currently taking place in our world today.

Jesus continues saying,

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”  – Matthew 24:7, ESV

The most recent headlines on the news in the last couple of years, I believe, have startled us all. Issues between countries and nations, divisions in our country between racial groups, and natural disasters all over the world, have been crippling.

 

So why am I listing all of these scriptures to you?

I’m glad you asked.

I am listing out all of these scriptures to you to give you insight on what is currently taking place in the natural, and to lead you here:

Jesus had a way of using nature to illustrate to us the natural cycle of the earth and the times. He uses a fig tree to explain to his disciples what all of this really means:

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”  – Matthew 24:32, ESV



 

Jesus used these words in his time to warn his disciples of what was to come when he would return. Over two thousand years later, we are still using Jesus’s words today to help us understand the seasons.

Now, I am not saying that the world is going to end tomorrow, or a year from now, or even ten to fifteen years from now.

What I am saying is this: The seasons are very telling, and as Jesus warned his disciples in his day to “watch and pray,” so he is warning us today to be mindful that his time of return is approaching.

Jesus told his disciples,

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”  – Matthew 24:36, ESV

Only God knows when the appointed time for Jesus to return will be, and he will  instill justice for all.

However, God has given us insight, through Jesus’s words, on when that time would be near.

 

So again I ask you, what is the point of these scriptures?

Well, here it is:

To point out to you that the season is near when Jesus will come back for his children and institute his final judgement. 

When Jesus separates people from one another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, which category will you be in?

 

 

 

Grace and peace fam, and may God continue to be with you.

 

 

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