Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 25:31-46, the Lord’s word concerning the judgment of the nations.
In the first two sections of the Lord’s prophecy of the kingdom, the Lord covered the Jews and the church. At the end of this age, the people on earth will be in three categories: the Jews, the believers, and the Gentiles. The word “but” at the beginning of verse 31 indicates that what is spoken from verse 31 to verse 46 is another section, the section concerning the Gentiles. When the Lord’s prophecy turned from the Jews to the church in 24:32, the word “but” was used to indicate this change. The same is true in 25:31.
If the Lord’s prophecy had covered only the Jews and the church, it would not be complete, for there would be nothing about the nations. In order to make His prophecy all-inclusive, the Lord had to say a word about what would happen to the nations at the close of this age. Many Christian teachers have mixed up the Lord’s word in the three sections of the prophecy of the kingdom, with some applying the verses concerning the Jews to the church. Both the word to the Jews and the word to the Gentiles have been applied to the believers. Many have taught that the judgment of the nations is the final judgment that the Lord will execute upon us all. In the past I heard certain Christian teachers warn us not to be goats. We were told to love the poor and suffering ones so that when the Lord Jesus came back we might be regarded as the sheep. Otherwise, He will consider us the goats. Thank the Lord that in His prophecy He used the little word “but” in two crucial places, in 24:32 and in 25:31. This word indicates that the prophecy turns from the Jews to the believers in the first case and then from the believers to the Gentiles.
Verse 31 says, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He shall sit on His throne of glory.” The Son of Man is the title of Christ for His kingdom, the Messianic kingdom (13:41). His judgment here in these verses is a preparation for that kingdom.
The coming spoken of in this verse is the open aspect of the Lord’s coming. It will be the continuation of His coming mentioned in 24:30. His glory comprises the glory of His divinity (John 17:22-24), the glory of His humanity (Psa. 45:3), the glory of His resurrection (John 7:39; Acts 3:13-15), and the glory of His ascension (Heb. 2:9). The throne on which He will sit is the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33), which will be in Jerusalem (Matt. 19:28; Jer. 3:17).
Verse 32 says, “And all the nations shall be gathered before Him.” All the nations are all the Gentiles who will be left at Christ’s coming back to the earth after He destroys at Armageddon those Gentiles who follow Antichrist (Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:11-15, 19-21). They will all be gathered and judged at Christ’s throne of glory. This will be Christ’s judgment on the living before the millennium (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1), differing from His judgment on the dead at the great white throne after the millennium (Rev. 20:11-15). This judgment on the living will occur after His judgment on believers at His judgment seat in the air (Matt. 25:19-30).
Verse 32 says that the nations, the Gentiles, will be gathered before Him. When the Lord spoke of the ten virgins, however, He did not say that they would be gathered. Rather, He said that they came. As we have pointed out, coming denotes rapture. In speaking about the slaves who received the talents, the Lord also said that they came. But the nations will not come; they will be gathered. In a parable equivalent to the parable of the sheep and the goats, the seventh parable in Matthew 13, the fish are also gathered out of the sea. All the nations will be gathered to Christ’s throne of glory to be judged there.
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