(Read Part 17)

How will God determine which individual Gentile people, who survive the future seven-year tribulation period, will enter His 1,000-year millennial kingdom? A cursory examination of the critical passage, Matthew 25:31-46, could produce a disastrous conclusion. Therefore, a proper interpretation of the passage requires the application of the main principles of Bible interpretation. This includes the historical, contextual, grammatical and literal interpretation of the Bible, all necessary tools for a distinctly dispensational and accurate conclusion.

Before we consider that proper interpretation, the following chart reminds us of the distinction between this sheep and goats judgment and the great white throne judgment, found in Revelation 20:11-15.


The Gathering to Judgment (Matt. 25:31-33)

The Return of Christ in Battle (Matt. 25:31)
Israel’s cleansing through judgment has been the focal point of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) up to this point. Now the scene dramatically changes to the judgment of the nations, or non-Jewish peoples. The time period referred to throughout the Olivet Discourse has not changed, and is documented in Matthew 25:31 as the time when Jesus, or the “Son of Man,” comes to the earth, which is also referred to as His second advent.[1]

The Preparation for Christ’s Reign (Matt. 25:32)
The Messiah approaches His royal throne and takes His rightful place. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the One awaited by the Jewish people for several thousand years, is now on earth and ready to judge the nations (Matt. 25:32). The nations of peoples will stand before the Lord, and He will begin the judgment process. The Lord divides the individual people, or all of those who are alive at the second coming of Christ. He establishes two groups of people and separates them from each other. The passage uses two metaphors to describe the two groups. The first group Matthew likens to sheep, and the second group to goats (Matt. 25:32). The group of people likened to sheep will be placed at the right hand of the Lord, and the second group, those likened to goats, will be placed at the left hand of the Lord.

The Granting of Rewards to the Righteous (Matt. 25:34-40)

The Blessing for the Righteous (Matt. 25:34)
The first group the Lord Jesus chooses to address is the sheep, or those on His right hand. The context of this passage reveals that the Lord found favor with this group. The sheep are considered more valuable, potentially based on the desirability of the wool they produce as contrasted with the goats.[2] The right hand is also the place of honor.

Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, sat at the right hand of Solomon when he was on the throne (1 Kings 2:19). When Jacob pronounced his blessings on the sons of Joseph, he placed his right hand on Ephraim and his left on Manasseh, indicating that Ephraim, the second born, had the favored blessing. When Joseph attempted to switch Jacob’s right hand to Manasseh’s head, Jacob refused, making it clear that the primary blessing was associated with his right hand (Gen. 48:17-19).

We will continue this point in the next article.

Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.

(Read Part 19)

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.

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, “The Teachings of Christ Incarnate, Part 2: The Olivet Discourse,” BSAC 109:433, (Jan. 1952): 29.

[2] David L. Turner, The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 11. of The Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2005), p. 328.