Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom

Part XXVIII: Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Work With Israel To The Kingdom, Matthew 24-25

5. Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Predicted Second Coming Judgment On Gentiles

(Matthew 25:31-46)


I.              Introduction

A.    In view of the misunderstandings that have risen in Church History on Christ's Matthew 24-25 Olivet Discourse, we need to discern the truth of Christ's judgment of the nations in Matthew 25:31-46.

B.    We view Christ's prediction of this judgment to correct errors and to perceive the truth and its application:

II.            Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Predicted Second Coming Judgment On Gentiles, Matt. 25:31-46.

A.    Some hold Christ's Matthew 25:31-46 judgment rewards people with salvation for the works of feeding the hungry, housing strangers, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and seeing those in prison, Matthew 25:34-36.

B.    However, Ephesians 2:8-9 asserts that salvation is by grace through faith apart from such good works.

C.    To resolve this tension, we note the context of the Matthew 24-25 Olivet Discourse and how it clarifies the judgment Christ will administer in Matthew 25:31-46 as follows:

1.     As we before established in this series of lessons out of the Matthew 24-25 Olivet Discourse, the entire discourse presents Jesus Christ's prediction of future events involving God's work with the nation Israel, NOT the CHURCH: the discourse was prefaced by Christ's prediction that Israel would not recognize Him until He returned in His Second Coming (Matthew 23:37-39) and by His prediction that not one stone of the Jewish temple would be left on another, Matthew 24:1-2.

2.     We thus note that after predicting the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:3-28, the Second Coming in Matthew 24:29-41 followed by parables in Matthew 24:42-25:30 that teach Israel on preparing to meet Him at His Second Coming, Jesus introduced His judgment of the "nations" in Matthew 25:31-32.

3.     The word translated "nations" in Matthew 25:32 is the Greek term ethnos, and in this context of the Olivet Discourse MUST mean "GENTILES," U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 99; Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the O. T., 1967, p. 217; Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 80.

4.     The Gentile nations would be judged as being saved as the "sheep" (Matt. 25:32-33) if they had fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, housed the stranger, clothed the naked, visited the sick and came to the imprisoned of the "least of these my brethren," Matt. 25:34-40, 41-46.  Those who had performed these works to Jesus' "brethren" would be saved and those who had failed to do so would be lost, Matt. 25:46.

5.     Since the context has for two chapters dealt with ISRAEL'S future, and it is the Gentiles that are judged in Matthew 25:31-46, the "brethren" of Jesus must be SAVED JEWS, and the Gentiles will have given evidence of their salvation status by how they treated believing Jews in the previous Tribulation Period:

                        a.        Those Gentiles who ministered to needy, persecuted Jews would thereby have given evidence of their saved status as they expected Israel to have a wonderful Messianic Kingdom at Christ's Second Coming.

                        b.        Conversely, those Gentiles who neglected to minister to needy, persecuted Jews would thereby have given evidence of their lost status as they did not expect the Messianic Kingdom with Christ's return.

6.     The evident contrast between the saved and the lost will be seen in their responses to Christ's evaluation:

                        a.        The righteous will be largely unaware of their goodness done unto the Jew, and ask the Lord at what time they saw Him as destitute and performed good deeds unto Him, Matthew 25:37-39.  Their treatment of the Jew will be good due to their faith in Christ, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matthew 25:37.

                        b.        Conversely, the ungodly will seem equally unaware of their evil done unto the Jew, and, when judged of Christ, they will ask at what time had they seen Him as destitute and failed to perform good deeds unto Him, Matthew 25:44-45.  Their lack of concern for the Jew will signal their lost condition as it will signal their lack of faith in Israel's coming Messiah and His Kingdom, Ibid.


Lesson: In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus did NOT teach that salvation is by good works unto the destitute in general, although helping the destitute is a good thing for the believer to do (Galatians 2:10), but that when He returns to the earth, the salvation status of Gentiles will be evidenced by how they treated the Jew in the Tribulation Period. 


Application: (1) May we trust in Christ for salvation, John 3:16.  (2) If we are truly saved, our works should show it (Ephesians 2:10), (3) but if we do NOT HAVE such evidences of salvation, we need to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith, and as believers live for Christ, doing good works, 2 Corinthians 13:5a with Titus 3:1.