Updated: Feb 3
Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The is the Gospel selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for Year A, Proper 29, the last Sunday after Pentecost, Christ the King Sunday. It will next be read aloud by a priest in church on Sunday, November 29, 2017. This is very important as it was Jesus telling of his return and the judgment that entails.
It is most important to see these words of Jesus, recalled by Saint Matthew, as being said during his time of inspection in Jerusalem, just prior to his last Passover Festival. The title that has been attached to these words (associated with some who lend titles) is “The Judgment” (some “The Final Judgment,” but others “The Sheep and the Goats”). This is when “the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.”
This tells about the kingdom of Christ Jesus. Jesus is Christ the King! However, this story, like all the parables immediately prior (over four days), are metaphor and allegorical.
While it is easy to see the anthropomorphic aspect of good humans being referred to as “sheep,” and bad humans being “goats,” all of which talk like humans, people claiming to believe this, as Christians, take these words are though Jesus was telling of some distant time, like at the end of the world. This is because the imagery produced by Saint John the Beloved at Patmos, in The Revelation, painted a similar picture of “the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him.” (see Revelation 1:7) Some take those words as statements of what will happen in the future, while understanding everything else as figurative speech.
The concept of Christ the King goes back to the time in Israel when Samuel ruled as prophet (a most important Judge). When Samuel was old and his sons had proven not to be as holy as their father, the leaders of the people went to Samuel and asked him to tell God they wanted a king, “to be like other nations.” The reality prior to that request was that God was their King … always was, always would be. But, God gave them human kings that progressively got worse, until the idea that having one person rule all the rest, with an assortment of holy advisers (hopefully at least one who could talk to God directly), meant everything had been squandered. After centuries of failing to live up to their Commitment with God (their marriage), the union between the children of Israel (Earth) and God (Heaven) was over (divorced).
This means there is no land of Earth on which the Spirit of Jesus Christ can float down from Heaven and have a throne waiting for him to sit on. Regardless of ALL the propaganda: of Zionism and the restoration of Israel – the nation (on stolen soil) – where Jews can call their rightful home; of Christianity and all the prophecies to be fulfilled so they can see the Dome of the Rock razed, so a Third Temple can signal the End Times (and probably cause many to pee themselves from excitement); and the Rapture of the faithful to Heaven (will they lose their clothes in that process?) … it ain’t gonna happen that way.
That concept of Jesus returning like so many have fantasized is not what Jesus spoke of in this reading. Nothing in Scripture intends that futuristic view to be the hope of salvation.
The earth that is the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is a human body or a devoted believer, such as Peter and the ten other Apostles, Paul, and every true Christian who has ever been filled with the Holy Spirit of God and the Mind of Christ. That means Jesus Christ came down from the heavenly realm at nineish, the day after he Ascended, when on Pentecost (the “Fiftieth day”) “like a violent rushing wind” eleven guys in an upstairs room in Jerusalem all became Jesus: as Christ Peter, Christ Thomas, Christ John (of Zebedee), so on and so on.
What is all this waiting till the end of the world stuff then? Could it be doubt? Could it be ignorance?
Verse 31 is translated above to state, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.” Here is what it really says: “When next comes the Son … the [One] to mankind in the unspoken manifestation of God the same , AND every kind of the [One] messengers of God with him , then he will set upon dominion inherent of him.” (text here)
This means “the Son of man” is not some title like “the Son of God.” The words “the Son” (“ho Huios“) imply “the Son of God.” The addition of “of man” (“anthrōpou“) means God sent His Son for the benefit “of man,” such that “the Son” was in a fleshy body that is required “of mankind.” However, “When next comes the Son of man,” is when the Son of God is reborn “of man,” in “the unspoken manifestation of God” (aka “glory”), which makes all those reborn “the same” as was the “man” named Jesus.
This means “all” or “every kind of” or “the whole” of those “of man” who are reborn as Jesus (“the [One]”), they then become instantly “messengers of God” (aka “angels”). This is because they are “with him.”
When one is “with him,” then one is not standing out in a field looking up in the sky, waiting to be “with him” on some distant day in an unknown future. One is either with Jesus, as Jesus reborn, or not.
This becomes the separated anthropomorphic creatures “of man,” which are “sheep” and “goats.”
Christ is the King of a true Christian, who individually is no longer a man or woman (aka “goat”) but a Saint (aka “sheep”). You could say Jesus is Christ the Herder of Sheep and Goats, in a Kingdom of Followers who tend to get lost … often … but that loses the appeal to Israelites, who love a king, to be like other nations. However, the only ‘country’ that Christ is King of is each one of man who subjects him or herself to that ruler (there is no tricameral system of checks and balances in those places, as Christ the King is a monarch).
Now, when the selection says, “All the nations will be gathered before him,” this is a statement similar to the First Commandment, which says, “Thou shall wear the face of no other gods (including your self face) before my face.” That means the only face that one who is married to God can ever wear is God’s face … like Moses wore. Obviously, a true Christian also becomes like Moses, as Jesus reborn. Since Elijah was part of the Transfiguration, then Elijah also was a model for true Christians.
So, now Jesus is saying, “and will be gathered before the face of him all the races” … “of man.” Once “gathered before him,” Jesus Christ can see clearly who is wearing the face of God (“sheep”) and who is not (“goats”). Seeing that face then becomes how Jesus separates Christians – true to his right hand, false to his left hand.
If one wants “nations” (rather than “races”) as the translation, then one is allowed to see how the spread of true Christianity (spread by true Christians, like Paul, Peter, James, et al) was not all nations at once. Over time, this influence spread around the Roman possessions that were Judea and Galilee – east, west, north and south. This spread, over time, caused the Western nations to adopt Christianity as their national religion, either Roman Catholicism or Orthodox Christianity.
In this view, the Christians of all the nations of the entire world will be gathered, from all continents. Certainly, some countries have significantly fewer Christians than do others. Its spread to Muslim nations and Hindu nations and tribal nations around the world has been met with varying degrees of resistance; but all the pagans (Gentiles) of the world will not be the ones judged by Christ the King. Only those who claim to serve the King will be separated, one from the other.
Think of this as the bringing in of the sheaves and the analogy of the threshing floor, where only the good grain is gathered, while all the weeds and fruitless plants are thrown into the fire and burned. After the burning of the rubbish, then the second step in this process becomes where the good grain is separated from the chaff.
The translation that says, “he will separate people one from another,” the word translated as “people” actually says “them,” but since “nations” or “races” can also state “people,” then “them” reflects back to those of whom “nations” and “races” consist. Because these “people” are those who call Jesus Christ “King,” only Christian “people” are found “before” him, or those “people” wearing the face of his “sheep” or his “goats” are allowed to come “before the face of him.”
Again, this is not an end of time event. It is an ongoing judgment that began when Jesus Christ returned in his disciples, who became Apostles. [Hint: Apostles are the sheep.]
It is important to note how the Nicene Creed states belief that Jesus Christ “is seated at the right hand of the Father.” Not only does that denote that Jesus of Nazareth (born in Bethlehem) was a “sheep,” but as “the Son” sent to be “of man,” he was also the Lamb of God … eventually the sacrificial Lamb, found without blemish. At the right hand of God, Christ Jesus became the Good Shepherd “of man,” who are the “sheep.” As a “sheep” the assumption is when one has become found. A “goat” is still doing its own thing.
Thus, the “people” are all lost, serving other kings in all the nations; but Christians are those lost “sheep” who have found the benefit of Christ Jesus, their Shepherd and their King. Still, while these beliefs and the position of seeing Jesus Christ as God’s “right hand man,” a vision clearly stated in Scripture, we do not clearly see who sits at God’s left hand.
The easy answer is Satan sits at the left hand of God; but one has to understand that Satan’s “throne” is not in Heaven, on the other side of God’s supreme seat, opposite to the one Jesus Christ sits on. Satan’s throne is within the depths of the Earth, which means an earthly realm as opposed to a heavenly one. As the unstated King of Earthlings (Prince of Darkness), all humanity naturally falls under that reign; but God denies Satan any ability to force mankind to do his bidding.
This means the throne of glory (“the unspoken manifestation of God”) upon which Christ sits is a Spiritual throne within the bodies (matter, earth) “of man.” Christ Jesus can only be seated within that earthly realm if a revolution of the “people” (a Spiritual rebirth) has made that possible. Those who claim to have dethroned Satan, so Christ Jesus can rule their lives on Earth, they are the ones “who were lost but now are found.”
Originally, there was God (Heaven), who then Created gods (Spiritual angels – elohim) and the earth (matter, the physical universe). In the Creation story, animal man and animal woman were formed on the sixth day; and they were given dominion over all the creatures and plants of Earth. At that time, all was good.
This was because animal man and animal woman only did natural acts, as instinctual of animals. When God told the gods to protect animal man and animal woman, there was a division of the elohim, as some gods submitted to compliance and and some (a third) offered resistance to God’s order. That was the Creation of the left hand, and thus the right hand of God.
The influence of both Good angels and Bad angels caused animal man and animal woman to cower in fear from all those unknown Spiritual entities. As animals, mankind had no knowledge in its little brains. That led God to create (on the Holy Day) Adam (Man) and his wife, as those who would become the seeds of religion on Earth, sent by God to teach animal man and animal woman the difference between right and wrong, knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, Adam became God’s first right hand man … as the first Son that would be sent “of man.”
By the time Adam had two sons, Cain and Abel, Satan influenced Cain to become the first teacher of false religion on Earth. He became the first “right hand man” of Satan, which inverts to the first to sit at the “left hand” of Adam’s (the Son’s) throne. Cain begat the goats of the world – those who profess belief in the One God (by whatever false name they call that God) – but goats are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They serve Satan, while pretending to serve God. They are today false Christians, not true Christians.
Pan, a pagan god.
The bulk of this story told by Jesus is then about the blessing of the righteous and the cursing of the wicked. Both sheep and goats have no clue how they helped God or turned away from God. They are just dumb animals who have no knowledge of Spiritual matters. However, the righteous have allowed God into their hearts and the Christ Mind to lead their actions, while the wicked have turned a cold heart to God and their actions have been led by Big Brains (their own or the leaders to whom they bow down to in service).
If you have ever heard the phrase, “Ignorance of the Law is no excuse,” then you understand that it is never a good thing to depend on a Big Brain, if one is seeking Heaven as the Spiritual reward of one’s time on the earthly plane. The only way that one can totally comply with the Laws set forth by Moses, for all who will claim to serve only God, is to stop trying to think, “God will say this evil deed is okay, if I bend the rules this way to meet my needs.” It is impossible to keep a brain and serve God. You serve one or the other, never both. Only through the influence of God can one be in total compliance of the Law; but then that righteousness means one has no clue how that happened.
You cannot serve the LORD wearing any other face before Him than His. You wear the face of God only through love of God and Him sending the Holy Spirit to you, meaning the “righteous” are Saints. That distinction come by the rebirth of Christ Jesus – the “sheep at the right hand of Christ the King.”
Let me make this clear in modern terms. If you worship Apple (an appropriate name for the item of original sin?) and think, “An I-phone is to die for,” then have your I-phone and all its wonderful earthly rewards, and God will call that your eternal reward. Of course, I-phones only work on the earthly plane, and Spiritual angels don’t have pockets for them in Heaven.
Aliens can’t go to Heaven either.
Take that base example and apply it to every thing this world has to offer. If God sends an Apostle things, then it is for those things to be used in service of the LORD – as manna from Heaven to live on [remember not to take more than is daily necessary] or a gift of the Holy Spirit given to lead others to the LORD, through Christ.
The moral of this story can be seen in the account of the Ascension in the Book of Acts, when we read:
“And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:10-11)
Do not be looking to let God in your heart and Christ into your mind at the end of the world. That “Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven,” which in the case of those who “were gazing intently” then, that coming was the next morning. At this moment you sit before Christ the King, on the throne of you, as you have for every moment of your adult life – most of which has been spent grazing as a “goat.”
It is not the declaration of Christ the King that made one a “goat” or made another a “sheep.” It is the faces that tell Christ the King which side the individual has chosen. Christ the King has been found by all, but the faces they all wear tell the truth.
The question, as always, is: “Are you ready to be Judged this very second?” I mean this on the level of Holy Judgment, where only you and God know the true answer.
Keep in mind that all the world – those that are not calling themselves Christian – those “people” are happily following the little-g gods of the world: Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, Fascism, Islam, and all religions that teach the ways of Satan-Cain. Added to that count are Christians who give a little and expect a lot in return, when the god they kneel down before can be seen in a mirror placed before their face.
The world is the realm of death. Mortals are flesh and bones that are born of death. Death means an eternity of an eternal soul springing back to life an a new body. Life means eternally a soul with God. Heaven is only made up of righteous souls, which can be summed up as God, His Son, and the Good Angels. “His Son” is a multiplicity of souls.
God sent His Son to lead “people” to the light of truth; but Satan will do everything in his power to turn “people” away from the truth and lead them to the darkness of lies. All the while, dumb animal man and dumb animal woman will not have a clue which way he or she is headed. Their brains are just too small.
Christ the King knows the name of every one of his “sheep.” He only has to call out, “Jesus, come here!” and they all go to his right hand, bleating, “Yes sir.”