(Read Part 18)
The Granting of Rewards to the Righteous
(Continued) (Matt. 25:34-40)
Now the King addresses the sheep and utters extremely comforting and exciting words, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). The identification of those on the right hand now expands to calling them “you blessed of My Father.” The specific works of the person, as good and righteous as they may have been, are not what allows them entrance into the kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus grants their inheritance as children of God, and by their relationship with the heavenly Father that they will have through their belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and His redemptive work on the cross (John 3:1-18). However, verses 34 through 40 present a challenge to reach that conclusion.
The Acts of the Righteous (Matt. 25:35-40)
The Lord Jesus now outlines six specific areas that define how the sheep will appear to gain access into the millennial kingdom. The actions include:
- Feeding the hungry
- Providing drink for the thirsty
- Taking strangers into their own home
- Clothing the naked
- Visiting those who were sick
- Visiting those who were in prison (Matt. 25:35-36)
As we read verses 37 and 38, the blessed review the entire list, as they cannot recall ever doing any of the six actions specifically for the Lord Jesus. However, verse 40 clearly defines the Lord’s intent. “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (v. 40).
Matthew 25:37-40 states:
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 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.’
Who are, “the least of these my brethren”? The best contextual answer is that the Lord Jesus will judge the sheep, or the righteous, based on how they treated the Jewish people, literally “the brethren.” The events of the previous seven years of the tribulation before the return of Christ marked the most horrific time ever on the earth including famine, plagues, catastrophic natural disasters, wars and other events that literally decimated the world (Rev. 6-18). There was ample opportunity to help those in need, as the world’s population will experience an unthinkable time of horrible conditions.
These precious people, referred to as the sheep, offered assistance to those in need. They practiced being Good Samaritans, or following what even the worldly describe as the golden rule, which is “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 19:19).
This is a serious challenge to present-day Christians to look at all people as those we can serve. The Bible is emphatic that not a single person will ever earn a place in heaven because of their good works (Eph. 2:8-9). However, God does expect His people to perform good works as an evidence of their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:10).
We will continue this distinctly dispensational discussion regarding who enters the fourth temple period
Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.
(Read Part 20)
Dr. Richard Schmidt is the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.