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 Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 63) (Revisiting the Sheep and Goats Parable)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 63) (Revisiting the Sheep and Goats Parable)   Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:06 pm

Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 63) (Revisiting the Sheep and Goats Parable)

We are about to study the second half of Revelation 14, but before we do, let’s quickly look at Matthew 25:31-46, which is the same event as that of the second half of Revelation 14.  This passage in Matthew is known as The Sheep and the Goats Judgement.  Verse 31 says, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory.”  First, we are given a roundabout time period, but this time period is qualified by two things: 1.) When the Son of Man returns; and 2.) When He returns with all of His angels.  This therefore, is different than the Rapture.  During the Rapture, the Son of Man will return, but not with angels.  At the Rapture, the Son of Man, Jesus, returns with all who have died in Christ.  Their spirits will be with Jesus in the air as many on Earth will witness their bodies being raised from the grave and float up to them, then the Christians who are alive will float up to the sky with them and be given their spiritual bodies.  That is the Rapture.  But this passage in Matthew describes a later return.  Jesus is going to return just for His own who got saved during the Tribulation, which is what the second half of Revelation 14 is about.  The problem is that the wicked got mixed in with the Church and from an uninformed viewpoint, it appears that the saved and the unsaved are indistinguishable because these unsaved that we are dealing with here are religious folk who proclaim the name of Jesus.  We identified them the last time as the Roman Catholic Church.  Jesus knows the difference between His sheep and the goats (or the false sheep), and here He is going to separate them so that they can be judged separately.  And the Tribulation is nearing the time where Jesus will sit on His throne in heavenly glory.  He will rule for 1,000 years on this Earth just after the 7 year Tribulation.  It is very important to note that these are angels, not saints who accompany Him here.

Verse 32 says, “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.”  “All the nations” does not mean “everybody.”  At the final judgment, the sheep and the goats will not be mixed.  Revelation 20: 1-15 describes the final judgment of non-Christians and no Christian will be in attendance there.  But at this judgment in Matthew, there will be a mix of Christians and non-Christians, hence the separation of the sheep and the goats.  Furthermore, after Jesus separates the sheep and the goats, Jesus will cast the goats away, yet there will still be about another 3 ½ years of Tribulation left for all other non-Christians on the Earth outside of the goats.  So “all the nations” here, simply means that all nations will be represented.  Or it means: of all people on Earth, He is going to extract the sheep and the goats and separate them from one another.  Verse 33 says, “He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.”  Keep in mind that both the sheep and the goats together represent the religious order of the world.  The religious order of the world in God’s eyes (or biblically) does not include Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, etc.  The religious order in God’s eyes include only those religions—Protestant and Catholic—that call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Don’t confuse Jehovah’s Witnesses in this bunch.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are likely not even goats, and they are certainly not sheep.  Jehovah’s Witnesses do not invoke the name of Christ; rather, they debase the name of Christ in an attempt to efface His name.  They only attempt to invoke Jehovah, though they fall short of that because they are not going through Christ.  Only Protestants and Catholics invoke the name of Jesus Christ, but not in the same way.  We discussed these differences in the last lesson; please refer to that lesson for more details.  

Verse 34: “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”  Note that the saved are on the right hand side of Jesus.  To be at the right hand side is to be at a place of authority or of high rank according to the bible.  Jesus calls these people “blessed”, and they have an inheritance.  Please recall that the people we are discussing here are the saved who got saved late.  These people only got saved within the last 3 ½ years because they all missed the Rapture.  These are the Tribulation Christians.  This is not our judgment.  If you are reading this today, this is not your judgement because we are still in the Day of Grace.  The Day of Grace saints will be judged from within Heaven during the 7 year Tribulation.  This judgment is actually on the Earth.  We will see in Revelation 14 that they will all be judged while in their bodies—then the wicked will be killed, but the righteous will be whisked away.  These Tribulation saints are just as blessed as the Day of Grace saints, and they will also inherit rewards for the good deeds that they did during the less than 3 ½ years that they are saved.  This shows that the Tribulation saints will be active.  They won’t have time to sit around and be idle: they have less than 3 ½ years to do their work.  I say “less than” because I suspect that few get saved on day one of the Tribulation—it may take some time for these people to get saved during the Tribulation, so they would have less than 3 ½ years to do their work.  It seems that today’s Day of Grace Christians have plenty of time to do good works, but sadly, many are idle Christians and will be outworked by these Tribulation saints.  The Tribulation saints will be hard workers and will have a lot of faith.  Often, only when faced with a tribulation does one mature into a diligent, faithful worker for Christ.  

In verse 35, Jesus specifies the work of these saints.  He says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” He continues in verse 36: “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  Sadly, some interpreters use this entire passage to argue that Christians need faith and works to be saved.  

As of late, I had in mind that the rules of the New Testament will revert back to the rules of the Old Testament during the Tribulation period.  In some respects, some things do revert back to Old Testament rules during the Tribulation, and we will cover that soon.  But even during the Tribulation, salvation is still by faith and grace alone; not by works, so that no one can boast.  As for the Tribulation Christians who find Christ during the Tribulation, they will be rewarded eternal access to the Kingdom of Heaven city, the New Jerusalem, because of their diligent, hard work for the Kingdom.  Non-diligent Tribulation Christians who do few or no works will have eternal access to the New Earth, but will be banned from the entering the Kingdom city.  Ironically, as we pointed out before, it seems that for the short 3 ½ years that will be available for Tribulation Christians that these will all be diligent for the Kingdom, doing good works for the Lord—not for their salvation, but for the purpose that God saved them and sent them.  Keep in mind that the setting of these Christians are in will attribute to the maturity of these saints.  From a worldly perspective, to be a true Christian, is to be “crazy” during that time.  The whole world will be against true Christians, and true Christians will not have access to food and money because they would have refused to accept the mark of the beast.  They will be highly persecuted during that time.  The trend, historically, is that when God’s people are faced with great persecution, they tend to be obedient and diligent servants.  The trend is that in times of peace and prosperity, the majority often seek to do their own thing apart from God, save, for perhaps giving Him token worship.  

Rather than a reverting back to the rules of the Old Testament, it seems more like this judgment of the Sheep and Goats is the result of a test that Jesus will give to all religious folk at that time who call upon His name.  The Christians will automatically pass the test.  Please note the specific criterion of the test: 1) that they fed Jesus when He was hungry; 2) they quenched His thirst when He was thirsty; 3) they invited Him in when Jesus showed up as a stranger; 4) they clothed Him when He was naked; 5) they took care of Him when He was sick; 6) they invited Him into their abode when He was in prison.  This is hardly a comprehensive list of all works.  There are many works not listed here.  Only these are chosen because by these Jesus will test the hearts of religious folk.  This test is designed to reveal the authentic Christians from the unauthentic ones.  Keep in mind that we are dealing with people from the Tribulation period.  During that time, Christians will be hungry and thirsty because they will refuse the mark of the beast, so they can’t buy food or drink, or even clothes.  Christians will also be spiritually thirsty at that time and spiritually hungry because they will all be new converts and will understand the times of the day and see the prophesy in the bible unfolding before them.  They will be bookworms of the bible because they will understand that the bible has predicted everything that is happening to them.  And, since they didn’t accept the mark of the beast, that means that they won’t have healthcare—no money equals no healthcare.  The hospitals will not accept the sick; they will have to take care of each other.  And lastly, Jesus is not commending them that they are visiting hard core prisoners.  During this time, Christians will be persecuted and imprisoned unjustly.  Jesus is commending them that they have visited Him (in the form of other Christians).  

To be clear, even if a true Christian during this time (Tribulation period) fails this test by not doing these things listed by Jesus—maybe they were isolated and were not in a vicinity of other Christians to feed them, clothe them, etc.; or maybe they don’t have money or clothes themselves to supply clothes for others—note that Jesus specifically says to those who do do these things that the Kingdom is theirs.  Jesus does not say that “salvation” is theirs.  We discovered in other lessons that works are required for access to the Kingdom.  We know from other passages that their faith in Jesus saves them, not their works, even these works that Jesus lists here.  We know from putting all of the Scriptures together that the Christian who does few to no works will lose out in the Kingdom of Heaven, but will escape the Lake of Fire, and live out their eternity on the New Earth, outside of the Kingdom.  The bible is very technical and with all things considered, there are no contradictions with any of the verses.  

Verses 37-39 reads as follows: “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”  Again, it is interesting that these saints seem surprised—it is almost as if they were not keeping track of their works.  They were just doing it on impulse without considering it Kingdom work.  It is as if it were natural for them.  Jesus already confirmed that they did these things; now, they are asking ‘When did we do these things?’  It was also as if they did not connect what they were doing to Jesus Himself.  When we do good works, our good works are credited as if we have done it for Jesus.  The benefit of a good work is not just having helped someone in need—a good work helps that person and also helps complete the Kingdom agenda of Jesus Christ.  When we help our fellow Christians in need, Jesus sees it as if we are helping Him.  

By the way, please be careful to not discriminate.  We will be judged if we do.  The next verse reads, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”  The word “least” is key.  Don’t help someone just because you like them, and not help someone else because you don’t hold them in as high regard.  Jesus is watching us and He is looking to see how we respond when the so called “outcasts” of society need help.  Specifically, this verse and passage is talking about Christians in need; Jesus calls them “a brother of mine.”  There is a lot of snubbing of one another going on in church congregations today.  The church is not exempt from cliques and factions.  How about make friends and help those who are considered least in the church?—those who no one talks to; those who might come to church, but have the scary tattoos or not look the way you want them to look.  God honors those considered the least and He rewards those who treat them well.  He judges those who snub them.  Jesus even seems to list the least.  His list includes those who have been imprisoned, those who cannot afford clothes, food or water (the poor), and those who are sick.  We should be careful how we respond when a poor person with ragged clothes comes into the church; or, maybe they are lame.  If a person is in need of clothes, Jesus wants us to help supply them with clothes, not make fun of what they are wearing.  

Matthew 25:41-46 is the same event of Revelation 14:17-20.  From Matthew 25:41 it says, “Then He will say to those on His left ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’”  Again, this is the religious order being judged, specifically, the religious order that calls upon the name of Jesus; and specifically here, the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church will be put to a test.  The Catholic Church will be given the same test consisting of the same six items that the Christians were tested with and passed.  A slight variation is that Jesus combines “sick and imprisoned” here into one statement.  We know that these are not saved people because Jesus tells us that they are cursed into the eternal fire.  We also know that these people are not saved because in the parallel passage in Matthew 7:23, Jesus tells these same people, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”  These people were not once Christians, and then lost their salvation; rather, these people were never saved.  The criteria for salvation here is still grace and faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  By failing this test in this dark hour for real Christians, they show outwardly that they were never saved.  This is a test that Jesus knew in advance that they would fail.  Ironically, Jesus uses works to test them by.  Catholics trust partly in their works for their salvation; Jesus, judges them by their works to show that they never accepted Him by faith alone.  Romans 11:6 says, “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  Be careful with Romans 11:6, for the King James still includes a portion from late manuscripts that was never in the original early manuscripts.  This late inclusion confuses the meaning of this verse.  The KJV reads, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”  That second statement is not from the Apostle Paul, but rather, by a copyist, who tried to add clarification to the statement that Paul made in the previous statement. Sadly, the copyist failed.  Contemporary translations correctly don’t include that second statement.  Works cancels out grace.  To mix grace and works is to create a pot of works.  The moment one contributes to a free gift, the gift is no longer free; and the person will have contributed to their gift, making them able to boast about their effort in receiving it.  The moment effort is put into grace it is no longer grace, but effort.  We are saved to do good works, not saved by the good works.

I want to emphasize more that this passage is not teaching that salvation can be obtained by works.  For one, this is not even our judgment.  This is a future judgment for a future dispensation.  When the Rapture occurs, all Christians will disappear from the face of the Earth.  If you are a Christian today, reading this, this is not your judgment.  New Christians will arise during the Tribulation.  This is their test (along with the imitation Church: that is, Catholics).  Secondly, Jesus lists only 6 works that He is using for His pass/fail scale of many other works that exist.  He is not, in that day, judging them in how many prayers they pray each day (or no prayers at all); or on whether or not they tithe; or whether or not they go to church or do church service like sing in the choir, or preach to congregants; or are good parents; or give to charity.  In fact, He is not even judging whether or not these “religious” folk are feeding the poor, giving them drink, visiting prisoners and helping the sick and clothing those who need clothes.  Many overlook the fact that this judgement is specifically whether or not the religious folk are feeding His people, giving His people drink, visiting His prisoners, helping His sick and clothing His people who need clothes.  To give donations to random charities, but to ignore the Church in that day would be to fail this test.  So there are many works that will not be in this test and this test is exclusively depicting His people (Christians) as the recipients or beneficiaries of the charities.  

The Holy Spirit truly changes the heart of a person.  Only Christians have the Holy Spirit.  One must first accept the finished work of Christ by faith alone and then they will receive the Holy Spirit at that moment.  The Holy Spirit will be working powerfully during the day of Tribulation.  Only during the most trying times, does mankind turn to God to the greatest degree.  All believers will be new converts and they will be persecuted on a great scale.  That is the perfect climate for the birth of truly committed Christians.  The Holy Spirit will drive these people to help each other.  The list Jesus gives is not the requirements for salvation during that day.  For what about Christians in that day who are poor themselves and have no food or drink for themselves?  How can they give food and clothes when they have none themselves?  Their hearts will be well intended, and they will do what they can do for their fellow believers.  Instead of a set of requirements for salvation, this is simply a test given to all religious people who call upon the name of Jesus, which will serve as an outward visible expression of the invisible inner salvation of faith and new birth of the Holy Spirit, thereby separating the truly saved (Christians) from the religious so-called “Christian” sector, the Catholic Church, who will both be proclaiming that they are saved through Jesus Christ, although the Catholic Church will continue to mix faith and works; and worship Mary; and honor the Pope’s word equal to or greater than God’s Word.  In this Day of Grace period, the Holy Spirit is in us, but for the most part, He is dormant, because too many Christians today have not been seriously tried and tested.  A simple tribulation is all it takes to turn a workless Christian into a dutiful one.  

It should make sense that the goats would call Jesus “Lord.”  Verse 44 says, “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’” The Catholic Church calls Jesus “Lord” today, so it is no surprise that they will call Him “Lord” in that day.  Again, this is clearly not the judgment of an atheist.  These people are surprised that they are being rejected by Jesus.  Atheists will just slump when they see Jesus face to face, but they won’t be surprised by His rejection.  And atheists do not refer to Jesus as “Lord.”  The people of this judgment will disappear after Revelation 14, but there will still be many people on Earth throughout the remainder chapters up to the end of Revelation 19.  And, these people of the goats and sheep judgment only include Christians and Catholics because they both call Him Lord.  Only Christians and Catholics call Jesus “Lord.”  Jehovah’s Witnesses say they call Jesus “Lord,” but actually, they call Him “Michael, the Arch Angel”.  So all other religions of the world are not judged in Revelation 14, and are allowed to continue on Earth up through the end of Revelation 19.  

I’ll end this here, but to be thorough, the next time we will discuss the particular things that actually do revert back to the Old Testament times during the Tribulation and Millennium, and possibly beyond.  As far as salvation goes, salvation will still be by grace and faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ through His death on the Cross and resurrection from the grave.  No one will be able to boast of obtaining one’s salvation by his or her works—“no one” includes during the Day of Grace and during the Day of Wrath.  It will be the Catholic Church (who trusts in their works to save them) who will be deprived salvation at the middle of the Tribulation period.  They are the goats.  The sheep are the ones who understand that they are saved by grace alone.  Yet, it will be the sheep (who are the true converts) who, during the Tribulation, will do good works to feed, clothe, and protect their fellow believers in need.  The Catholic Church will be a religious institution that claims the name of Christ during that day, but will do nothing for Christians in need.  Jesus is going to use a specific list (6 items) of works to test them, which will reveal their true nature.  This test is not their requirement for salvation, but simply a measurement of their lack of salvation.  True Christians will pass the 6 item works test; false Christians will fail it.  Remember that the true Christians during this time are all new converts and will all be persecuted for their faith by society.  Their persecution and energetic sincere spirit that comes with being new converts will naturally make the true Christians do the good works required for each other’s survival.  After the next lesson, we will pick back up in Revelation 14.  
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Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 63) (Revisiting the Sheep and Goats Parable)
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