VIDEO Sheep, Goats, and the Second Coming!

sheep goats

One of my favorite passages as a new believer was the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

I had Keith Green’s song about it memorized. But a few years later I realized I had it all wrong. It’s not a parable at all—but a real life event!

The traditional meaning of the Sheep and the Goats is a biblical one, even if it is not the exact intention of the passage—that we mustn’t forget the poor—the less fortunate. One Christmas I went to Toys R US and bought a bunch of toys and passed them out in the projects of Richmond, Virginia. I also went to the county jail to share the gospel with prisoners. This passage motivated me.

So, while wanting to encourage you to continue to love those in need, let’s see what this passage is really saying. Let’s start at the beginning:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” (Matt. 25:31-33)

Okay, this is the Second Coming of Yeshua—which is why the sheep and the goats cannot be believers. Believers have all ready met Yeshua in the sky—whether that is at the Second Coming or seven years before, is a discussion we can have later—but we all agree that before the Messiah returns we will have been “caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”. (1 Thes. 4:17) and it continues that we “will be with the Lord forever.”

The eternal destiny of the sheep and the goats is decided in this passage, which takes place after Yeshua returns—so they can’t be believers. We have this great promise

That “we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (1 Cor. 15:51-52)

So who are these that make up the sheep and the goats? According to Zechariah there will be survivors of the judgment that comes on the nations at the Second Coming.

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. (Zech 14)

Not only will there be survivors but they will come to Jerusalem to celebratethe Feast of Tabernacles. For those who think that God is done with Israel or the Torah, this passage throws a wrench in their theology.

And the Zechariah passage looks very much like Matt. 25. He is sitting on His throne, obviously in Jerusalem as he has just returned to the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) All the nations are gathered before him.

It could be possible that this gathering that takes place just after the Second Coming is the inaugural Feast of Tabernacles in the millennial kingdom.

Now He separates the people—not each nation—but the people of each nation. Meaning there could be folks from Norway or Egypt who end up on the Sheep side and others on the Goat side.

And then the King Messiah judges the survivors of the Second Coming based on very specific criteria. How did you treat my brothers?

And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’ (Matt. 24:40 NET)

Another reason why these could not be believers. We are justified by the blood of Yeshua—not works. These folks are being rewarded or judge based on their actions.


He pictures his brothers and sisters as those who have been hungry, thirsty, outcasts, imprisoned and sick.

What group of people has been constantly persecuted since their beginning? What nation could be classified as the brothers and sisters of Yeshua? What people group has been the plague of the nations, hated throughout history?

Obviously Israel. Certainly a naked, homeless or imprisoned Jew sounds like Nazi controlled Europe, the Crusades or the Inquisition. Think of the context.

Every nation has gathered against Jerusalem. (Zech. 12:2-3) The antichrist who has now been defeated, gathered the armies of the world in the valley of Har Megiddo (Rev. 16:16) in order to march on Jerusalem. Zechariah (14:1-2) speaks of horrifying atrocities committed by these armies against the Jewish people.

And then Yeshua returns to fight for Israel (Zech. 14:3-4). He wins, and sets up his kingdom in Jerusalem. He then calls for the nations to gather during the Feast of Tabernacles and separates the peoples of those nations based on how they treated His brothers and sisters.

We can see in the world today how the nations unjustly and unreasonably judge Israel while turning a blind eye to the crimes of China, Iran, Syria, Russia, etc. But God warns the nations saying I will bless those who bless Abraham and I will curse those who curse him (Gen 12:2-3). He says whoever touches Israel touches the ‘apple of His eye.’ (Zech 2:8).

Psalm 2 paints a picture of the nations opposing God and the issue is Zion, Jerusalem. God mocks them and then He “terrifies them in his rage”. All this lines up with Matt. 25. Is Israel perfect? By no means, but God’s favor on Israel is for His own purposes, not a reward for righteousness.

A good portion of the Bible, Old and New Covenant, is directed towards nations, saying, “be careful how you treat Israel.” While all nations will turn against Israel, it doesn’t mean that you have to!


When Scripture Is A Whip


Some time ago I met a former missionary who, through the course of his long life, learned to think of the Bible as a whip. The metaphor seemed apt to me then, and to this day it still resonates. Not least because for a long time I avoided reading Scripture, often going to its pages in search of comfort only to find rebuke.

A few years later a therapist diagnosed me with obsessive-compulsive disorder. And like other religious people who suffer from OCD, I tended to be overly scrupulous when it came to all things spiritual. I would self-flagellate—but only mentally, of course—and then punish myself further for flogging myself too much or too little.

Until recently, I had never read the Bible in its entirety because I believed doing so would only prompt me to engage in morbid introspection (and more flogging, naturally). As the son of a Baptist minister, I also believed I had already absorbed the bulk of the Bible simply by marinating in a lifelong bath of sermons, studies, and devotional time.

Why should I read the Bible as a whole? I wondered. Aren’t I already familiar with it, more or less? Will I ever really need to know more about, say, Nehemiah?

Nevertheless, on New Year’s Day, when a friend told me she planned to read through the Bible in 2015, an unexpected thought materialized: I want to do it, too! How had my reticence to read the Word given way so suddenly to a readiness to be a student of Scripture? Perhaps the Holy Spirit had been working on me behind the scenes—pulling levers in my heart and mind, causing unseen cogs to begin turning, undetected.

Why should I read the Bible as a whole? I wondered. Aren’t I already familiar with it, more or less?

So finally, at age 36, I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover in hopes of finding illumination, instruction, and intimacy with God. I might find an instrument of correction, too, but I knew the Word was more than a whip. If my father could find a wealth of wisdom in its pages as a pastor, I believed I could, too. And I haven’t been disappointed.

This year I have found the Bible to be alternately baffling and beguiling, brutal and beautiful, disconcerting and calming, mundane and magical. My readings have also prompted countless texts, emails, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations with my father about the meanings of many passages—and I believe it’s enriching our relationship.

I am pleasantly surprised by all these things. Psalm 119—the longest chapter in the Bible—best summarizes my experience this year. The author exults in the commandments of God in a way that children seldom revel in their parents’ instructions. “I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word” (Ps. 119:16). I, too, have come to find great joy in reading the book I formerly feared—what was once a whip has become a source of wonder—and yes, delight, too.


By Chad Thomas Johnston 

Serving One Another

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Believers have two main responsibilities—to love God and to love people (Matt. 22:37-40). This is often done by serving. Where and how we serve is based upon our unique talents, skills, and calling, but the one place where we’re all expected to give of ourselves is the local church.

When you trusted Jesus as Savior, the Lord baptized you by the Holy Spirit into His church—the body of believers living all over the world but united by faith in Jesus Christ. You then chose, according to the will of God, to become part of a local, autonomous group of believers. He placed you there because He knows that you are needed (1 Cor. 12:18). You are significant to your home church.

The church is more than a community. It’s an interdependent body with individual members created by God to function in communion with one another. We Christians, like the world at large, are a diverse group of people, and we have to strive hard for unity. But our differences are actually something to be celebrated—each person uniquely contributes to God’s purpose. A church truly operating as a unit, with all its varied gifts, talents, personalities, and intellects focused toward kingdom goals, must be a beautiful sight to the Lord.

Christianity is not a spectator religion. We all have jobs to do in God’s kingdom. The body of Christ functions most beautifully when all members resolve to serve God and each other to the best of their abilities (1 Cor. 12:25). What are you doing for your church?

My Strength and Victory

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” verse two highlights His attribute of strength. David wrote of encountering and benefitting from it when he hid safely in Him. “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins.

In times of opposition, we can go to Him for comfort and protection. In Psalm 23:4, we are comforted to read, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” We can likewise pass this along to bolster others in need, for “we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

When conflict comes, our Friend for sinners provides a way out. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Ultimately, victory is ours through His great strength and wisdom. In eternal glory, we are told that “now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). Forever we will hide safely in Him. JDM

Spiritual Receptivity

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. —Psalm 27:8

Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well-known Christians of postbiblical times….

I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis, I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision. As David put it neatly, “When thou saidst, Seek ye may face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8).

Lord, give me open ears, a quiet mind, a receptive heart and a willingness to obey. I commit before You my desire to acquire a “lifelong habit of spiritual response.” Amen.

Yes, God Loved Us First

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

If we are to have any satisfying and lasting understanding of life, it must be divinely given. It begins with the confession that it is indeed the God who has revealed Himself to us who is the central pillar bearing up the universe. Believing that, we then go on to acknowledge that we have discovered His great eternal purpose for men and women made in His own image.

I heard a brilliant Canadian author being interviewed on the radio concerning world conditions, and he said: “I confess that our biggest mistake is the fond belief that we humans are special pets of Almighty God and that God has a special fondness for us as people.”

We have a good answer: man as he was originally created is God’s beloved. Man in that sense is the beloved of the universe. God said, “I have made man in My image and man is to be above all other creatures. Redeemed man is to be even above the angels in the heavens. He is to enter into My presence pardoned and unashamed, to worship me and to look on My face while the ages roll on!” No wonder we believe that God is the only certain foundation!

There is not a spider hanging on the king’s wall but hath its errand

There is not a spider hanging on the king’s wall but hath its errand; there is not a nettle
that groweth in the corner of the churchyard but hath its purpose; there is not a single insect
fluttering in the breeze but accomplisheth some divine decree; and I will never have it that
God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank, and to be a nothing. He
made you for an end. Find out what that end is; find out your niche, and fill it. If it be ever
so little, if it is only to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, do something in this great
battle for God and truth.