This question is not about what the sheep and goats judgment means. It is not about identifying who the sheep and goats are, or when it takes place. The question is why it logically follows on the passages before it.

In the final passages of Matthew 24 and continuing through Matthew 25 with the wise and foolish virgins and good and wicked servants, Jesus gives us examples of being ready and watchful for His coming back.

But this passage on the sheep and goats is a departure from his earlier purpose. There's nothing here to tell us how to be ready or watchful. In my theology, these sheep and goats are neither the church, which is in heaven at this time, nor the Jews. Accepting this presupposition, why is this section here? What is it's purpose?

  • For clarity, are you asking why Matthew 25.31-46 is situated in its current position, as opposed to somewhere earlier or later in the book?
    – user2910
    May 25 '18 at 17:44
  • If you wish your presupposition to be accepted it would be helpful if it was known what it is. You have told us what it is not. So, what it is it ?
    – Nigel J
    May 25 '18 at 17:52
  • @MarkEdward That's a fair way to put it. It's just that the subject matter has seemingly jumped to a new direction It is related to what went before, or not?
    – Steve
    May 25 '18 at 20:00
  • @Nigel It is: " In my theology, these sheep and goats are neither the church, which is in heaven at this time, nor the Jews."
    – Steve
    May 25 '18 at 20:00
  • @Steve Yes. I noticed that. I was hoping you would say what you do think they are, which would assist anyone willing to respond to the question.
    – Nigel J
    May 25 '18 at 20:06

The purpose of the entire Olivet discourse, including the sheep and goat judgment is to prepare Israel in advance of the tribulation that will some day come in the future. The purpose specifically of the sheep and goat judgment section is to ask the question are you ready for His return? Are you among the Sheep or are you among the goats?

The sheep will entire the kingdom and the goats will enter into everlasting fire.

That simple take on the issue is based on a literal hermeneutic that treats the entire Olivet Discourse in Matthew's account as pointing to the seven year tribulation.


In scriptures, the terms 'sheep and goat' are generic symbols for the righteous and the wicked, respectively. One example being

Zechariah 10:3; Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

The logic that Christ followed concerned the day of judgment. It is written that he spoke to multitudes ever in parables, and in none other way.

And so, just as he used various approaches in expounding the nature of the kingdom of God, one of which choices having been the mustard seed, so it is that the symbolism of beings not human, or any element forming the day judgment, being it victims of the day-the wicked, or benefactors from it--the righteous, their depiction can take on any 'names' apparently arbitrary in the context.

That's why 'sheep and the goats' are perfectly logical terms in that respect, and appropriate in the context, as to what preceded them or what follows.

The symbolism of a 'goat' appears many times in unfavorable contexts concerning those it depicts, portraying them as wayward. Whereas the symbolism of a sheep is largely about those that are 'obedient' as to be led, albeit not in the right path by blind shepherds, and in which case they fair no better than the 'natural goats', and thereby depicted as having become 'fat'.

Ezekiel 34 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats And so both the 'goat and the sheep' are used in the bible more often than not, in the context of righteousness.

Isaiah 34:6 [KJV] The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.

In these cases, and many that are similar, was the basis for the logic that Christ put forth concerning judgement of 'sheep and the goats come that day...

I hope that helps as to the relevance of these terms in the context.

  • Jesus spent the last chapter and a half telling His disciples about being ready for His coming, then He talks about the Sheep and Goats judgment, which isn't about the believers. Why is this teaching here? Is it a natural followup in some way?
    – Steve
    Jun 15 '18 at 21:40
  • @Steve It is a follow up. But, using a device unique to elements on judgement day, and which day concerns all creatures, both angels and man. God gave a way of existence unique to each, so to veer from which meets with judgments. This is why the apostles write about both man and angels going astray. And so, false believers who walk contrary to the course set for man in the precepts of Christ also meet with judgement. It is written that judgement starts with the house of God, that means believers will be weighed, for good or for worse; we must all appear before Christ concerning the same... Jun 16 '18 at 9:24

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