Here in the parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus is summarizing His admonition to His disciples to be alert and keep watch lest they too be swept away in the flood of destruction that was about to overtake the unbelieving Jews who had rejected Him as their Messiah. The disciples had asked Him what would be the sign of His coming, and of the end of the age (Mat 24:3); as we have seen, His answer speaks beyond His coming in judgment upon the Jewish nation and the end of that age to His coming in judgment upon all the nations of this present evil age as they too are gathered before Him and separated one from another by the truth of His word even as sheep and goats are separated from one another by a shepherd. What word in Mat 25:31 is emphasized by repetition to describe the Son of Man’s coming? Notice that the NAS glorious throne is literally the throne of His glory, as in the KJV. What is the significance of a king sitting upon his throne, and that throne being described as glorious? Cf. 2Sa 8:15, 1Ki 7:7, 10:9, Psa 9:4-10, Pro 29:14, Isa 16:5, Jer 23:5. Are the reign and judgments of a king that reflect his glory just singular events that happen and then are over, or are they more of a continuous action that begin at some point and grow in power and influence? Is Christ’s reign as king entirely future, or has it in fact already begun? Cf. Mat 27:11,37, Mar 15:32, Luk 23:2, Act 2:36, 17:7, 1Co 15:25, Heb 1:8; also recall that the title Christ means the one anointed by God to be king. See also Joh 18:33-37 and consider how those who love the truth are separated by the truth of Christ’s voice to His right, into His kingdom as sheep, while those who do not love the truth are separated to His left out of His kingdom as goats; cf. 2Th 2:9-12.
Is the heavenly glory of Jesus’ reign as king the same as the earthly glory of the kings of this world, that we should necessarily expect that His kingdom will ever manifest itself to be like the kingdoms of this world? Contrast 1Ki 10:18-19 with Mat 20:25-28; also contrast Psa 49:12 and Isa 14:11 with Mat 21:6-9, 24:35. How does the manner in which Jesus judges righteously from His throne and manifests His glory differ from the way the kings of this age judge and manifest their glory? See Joh 12 46-48, Act 25:23. What does this remind us about how the glory of God and His kingdom differ from the glory of men and their kingdoms? See Gen 31:1 and notice that wealth there is literally glory, as in the KJV; see also Mat 4:8, 6:29, Joh 12:42-43 (NAS approval = literally glory), Phil 3:18-21. How did Jesus’ first coming as a child born into a poor family and laid in a manger reflect the different nature of God’s glory from the glories of the world? Was that coming without glory, or was its glory just different from the glories of the world? Cf. Mat 2:2,9-11, Luk 2:8-14,20,29-33. Therefore, when Jesus said that He would come in the glory of His Father (Mat 16:27) are we necessarily to understand that His coming will be marked by the same splendor and power that the world glories in, or might that glory also be quite different from what the world expects?
When Jesus began His ministry, how was the manner in which He first manifested His glory different from the way the world manifests its glory? See Joh 2:10-11. Contrary to the way of the world that draws people in with wine that is more appealing to the taste and then serves them that which is cheaper when they are too drunk to care, God in Christ unexpectedly provided the even better wine of the New Covenant after men had drunk freely of the inferior wine of the Old Covenant; in what other very significant way are God and His people glorified that is unexpected and the exact opposite of what the world glories in? See Luk 24:26, Heb 2:9-10, 1Pe 1:11,21, 4:13-14, 5:1,10.
Whereas the great men of earth exalt themselves over others to obtain glory, who does God exalt to obtain glory? See 1Sa 2:8, and notice that the NAS seat of honor is literally a throne of glory; cf. Mat 5:3, Luk 1:52, 14:10 and also recall the Biblical principle that “many who are first will be last; and the last, first” (Mat 19:30). In what ways was the life of Christ the supreme example of this principle that it is the humble and those who are dead and of no account in themselves that God raises up and exalts? Cf. Phil 2:5-11. What do these things remind us about the way, hidden from our sinful nature, that we may obtain glory? Is it by exalting ourselves, or by humbling and entrusting ourselves to God, even unto death? See 1Pe 5:6.
What does Scripture say is God’s throne? See Mat 5:34, 23:22, Act 7:49. As heaven is God’s throne, wherein is all truth and from where He reigns in glory over all His creation, what then is the throne of Christ’s glory from where He reigns as king and judges in righteousness over all nations of the earth? Is it a position of power and might and splendor that the kings of this age would glory in? Or is it not also, like God’s throne in heaven, the truth of His word, especially as that truth manifests itself upon the earth in the hearts of people and through faith they discover and reflect the glory hidden from their sinful nature that the last shall be first, the greatest is the servant, and the first is the slave of all? Cf. Jer 14:21, Luk 17:21 KJV, Col 1:27.