In this parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus is summarizing His warnings in the Olivet discourse to be alert and keep watch lest His coming in glory surprise His disciples, who would become the leaders of His Church, as it did the religious leaders of the Jews. For just as the unbelieving Jews could not see the nature of His true glory, being blinded by the glory of the world that they loved more than God and His kingdom, He knew the same would tempt His own followers as well. And just as was then happening to the Jewish nation, so would the Son of Man come in His true glory, and sit on the throne of His glory, which is the truth of His word, to separate all nations even as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. In that day Jesus says that as the King He will command the sheep He has separated to His right to inherit the kingdom. We have come to understand that this is by no means a passive activity as we might suppose, for it means literally to “take possession of” that for which they had not personally labored, even as the Jews were commanded to take possession of the land of their inheritance, which meant supplanting the former inhabitants of that land. For in this same way, even Christ’s disciples cannot come to possess the kingdom of God without first by faith cleansing that land of their inheritance from the “nations” of sin that are greater and mightier than they (Deut 7:1-2, 11:22-23). Although we are now working on this process, we long for the day when He shall appear and we shall see Him as He is, and we shall be like Him (1Jo 3:2), at which time only shall we finally and completely be able to inherit the kingdom as our eternal reward in the land of promise.
How does Jesus describe the kingdom that He invites / commands the sheep on His right to inherit / possess? See Mat 25:34. What does this description indicate about God’s original intention for man? Cf. Gen 1:27-28, 2:7-8,15. What does it indicate about God’s intention changing as a result of man’s fall into sin? After his fall into sin, did God’s intention change in regard to preparing for man a land to possess in the sense of living in that land to cultivate it and bring forth fruit that would be pleasing to Him? Cf. Isa 5:1-4, Mat 21:33-37, Heb 13:8. What does God’s continuing intention throughout history also communicate about the relationship He has always intended to have with mankind as tenant-farmers and caretakers of His creation? I.e., is He an absentee landlord as some suppose, who after setting the universe in motion left it to fend for itself? Cf. Gen 3:8 and consider that before the fall the presence of God would walk freely in the garden and commune with man, and all of Scripture is the story of what God has done and continues to do to restore that communion.
What many other things has God prepared in relation to His kingdom that He would have His sheep inherit? See Psa 23:5, Pro 9:1-6 (esp. verse 2), Mat 11:10, 20:23, 22:4, 25:41, Luk 2:30-32, Joh 14:2-3,6, Rom 9:22-23, 1Co 2:9, 2Co 5:4-5, Eph 2:10, Heb 11:16, Rev 12:6. What is the appropriate response to all that God has prepared for man with the good intention of communing with him? See Luk 1:17, 2Ti 2:21, Rev 19:7, 21:2.
For whom specifically does the King say that the kingdom His sheep will inherit was prepared? See Mat 25:34. How does that contrast with those for whom the eternal fire was prepared into which the goats shall go as they are commanded to depart from the King? See Mat 25:41. What does this again indicate about God’s original intention for man? Think: Was eternal fire prepared for the goats among men as it was for the devil and his angels? Is it still God’s intention that all men should be saved and not perish in the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels? Cf. Eze 18:23,32, Luk 15:20, Joh 3:16-17, 1Ti 2:4, 2Pe 3:9.
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?