Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Version Selector Up Arrow
KJV King James Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NIV New International Version
ESV English Standard Version
CSB Christian Standard Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NET New English Translation
RSV Revised Standard Version
ASV American Standard Version
YLT Young's Literal Translation
DBY Darby Translation
WEB Webster's Bible
HNV Hebrew Names Version
RVR60 Reina-Valera 1960
VUL Latin Vulgate
WLC Westminster Leningrad Codex
LXX Septuagint
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:




Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:



Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Prior SectionReturn to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyNext SectionRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'


Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect

Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on YouTube

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Thomas Ice :: An Interpretation of Matthew 24-25

Thomas Ice :: Part 39 - Matthew 25:31-46 Christ's Glorious Coming and Judgment

toggle collapse


by Thomas Ice

Part 39 - Matthew 25:31-46 Christ's Glorious Coming and Judgment


But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been 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; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see 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, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that 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.—Matthew 25:31-46

The third and final section of Matthew 25 is a key New Testament passage that includes the sheep and goats judgment after the second coming. This final section of the Olivet Discourse (found only in Matthew) is a difficult passage for some preterists and all posttribulationists to handle. However, the dispensationalist has no problem understanding it since he takes it to mean exactly what it says.


This passage is difficult for many preterist because amazingly they believe that this second coming judgment passage was fulfilled in A.D. 70. Gary DeMar says, “there is little evidence that the ‘coming of the Son of Man’ in Matthew 24:27, 30, 39, and 24:42 is different from the ‘coming of the Son of Man’ in Matthew 25:31. Compare Matthew 25:31 with Matthew 16:27, a certain reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.” 1 DeMar fails to explain the details of the passage that speak of a return in glory with “all the angels with Him.” In addition, when did our Lord judge the nations in A.D. 70, as depicted in this passage? This is clearly a future event and such a major event that it is hard to imagine how it can be confused with A.D. 70. Arno Gaebelein tells us:

It is evident that these words must be connected with Matthew 24:30-31. The scene takes place after His visible and glorious appearing as Son of Man and after His elect (the remnant of His earthly people; that is, the “all Israel”) have been gathered. Leaving out the central portion of the discourse, the three parables, relating to the Christian profession, we have in Matthew 24:3-41 and Matthew 25:31-46 chronological events relating to the end of the Jewish age and the judgment which follows immediately after the Lord has come. 2


Only Jesus mentions the judgment of the nations that will take place when “He will sit on His glorious thrown” (Matthew 25:31) immediately after His second coming to establish His kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46). The dividing process is seen in the judgment of the Gentiles using the analogy of the sheep and goats. The sheep Gentiles are those who have been good to the Jews during the Tribulation, defending them at the risk of their lives, visiting them in prison and feeding them during those desperate times. Those who persecuted them or rejected them will be put on the left side and are known as goats, signifying their rebellion towards God. For this rebellion they “will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

The fact that the sheep are those who have been good to the Jews during the Tribulation period is an indication they are born again believers in Jesus whose “brethren” they protected and aided (Matthew 25:40). These individuals from among the Gentiles will befriend the Jews because they are “righteous” (Matthew 25:37), meaning they have been made “righteous” by faith in the blood of the Lamb and His subsequent resurrection. The Greek word for righteous is also used of the doctrine of justification by faith (i.e., Christ’s righteousness is imputed to a believer). They are good to the Jews for the same reason. John Walvoord says, “works are presented here, not as the ground of salvation, but as the evidence of it, in the sense of James 2:26, where it is declared, ‘Faith without works is dead’; that is, it is not real faith unless it produces works.” 3 The Abrahamic covenant is still in vogue and will be even during the millennium. It should be remembered, Jesus said in Matthew 25:46, that these “sheep,” or believers during the Tribulation, go “into eternal life.”

There are three different groups at this Judgment of the Nations to determine who goes into the millennium. The unsaved followers of Antichrist left at the end of the Tribulation He calls “goats.” The believers who survive the martyrdom of the Tribulation He calls “sheep,” who demonstrate their gift of “righteousness” through the blood of the Lamb. The third category is the “brethren” whom the sheep befriend. Those whom Jesus calls “my brethren,” are the Jews who go into the Millennium in belief. Thus, we see that only believers will enter the Millennium—Gentile believers and Jewish believers from the whole house of Israel.


Posttribulationists believe that the rapture and the second coming are either the same event or occur with virtually not interval between them. This passage presents a problem for posttribulationists as noted by Ron Rhodes as follows:

Within premillennial eschatology, Matthew 25:31-46 is properly interpreted as referring to the judgment of the nations. The nations are comprised of the sheep and the goats, representing the saved and the lost among the Gentiles. According to Matthew 25:32, they are intermingled and require separation by a special judgment. This judgment follows the second coming of Christ, since it occurs “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him” (Matthew 25:31). However, this judgment seems somewhat infeasible (as well as unnecessary) if, as posttribulationists hold, the rapture takes place at the Second Advent. At a posttribulational rapture, a separation of the saved from the unsaved would take place at that point. Accordingly, most posttribulationists either ignore this passage entirely, or relate it to the final judgment after the millennium. 4

Believers who come to faith in Christ during the tribulation are not translated at Christ’s second advent but carry on ordinary occupations such as farming and building houses, and they will bear children (Isaiah 65:20-25). This would be impossible if all saints were translated at the second coming to the earth, as posttribulationists teach. Because pretribulationists have at least a seven-year interval between the removal of the church at the rapture and the return of Christ to the earth, this is not a problem because millions of people will be saved during the interval and thus be available to populate the millennium in their natural bodies in order to fulfill Scripture.

It would be impossible for the judgment of the Gentiles to occur after the second coming if the rapture and second coming are not separated by a gap of time. How would both saved and unsaved, still in their natural bodies, be separated in judgment, if all living believers are translated at the second coming? This would be impossible if the translation takes place at the second coming, but it is solved through a pretribulational gap between the two events.

Walvoord points out that if “the translation took place in connection with the second coming to the earth, there would be no need of separating the sheep from the goats at a subsequent judgment, but the separation would have taken place in the very act of the translation of the believers before Christ actually sets up His throne on earth (Matthew 25:31).” 5 If pretribulationism is true then there is no problem of how the Lord will populate the millennium with mortals. Those who will be saved during the tribulation and physically survive until Christ’s return, whether Jew or Gentile, will populate the millennium in their moral bodies. This will be a great event that Bible-believing Christians look forward too. Maranatha!

1  Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Smyrna, GA: American Vision, 1997), p. 190.

2  Arno C. Gaebelein, The Gospel of Matthew: An Exposition (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, [1910] 1961), pp. 539-40.

3  John F. Walvoord, Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), p. 202.

4  Ron Rhodes, Posttribulationism and the Sheep/Goat-Judgment of Matthew 25—A Summary-Critique of Robert Gundry’s View, (A paper presented to the Pre-Trib Study Group, Dallas, TX, December 2003), p. 1.

5  John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, [1957], 1979), p. 274.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


Bible Search

Multiverse Retrieval

LexiConc Search

FAQ Search

Browse Dictionary Topics

Bible Reference

Encyclopedias / Dictionaries

Introductions to the Bible

Topical Indexes

Charts and Outlines


Maps / Images

Bible Commentaries

Text Commentaries

Audio & Video Commentaries

Theological Resources

Articles / Books

Women's Resources

Don Stewart

BLB Theological

Creeds, Catechisms, and Confessions





Digital Books

Mobile Apps for iPhone / iPad

Mobile blb.org

BLB Offline CDs

Free Web Tools


Email Devotional Sign-Up

BLB Daily Promises

Day by Day by Grace

Morning and Evening

Daily Bible Reading Plan


Video Tutorials


Theological Questions

Website Support

iApp Support

General Questions


Sowing Circle

Co-Laboring Ministries


About the BLB

Statement of Faith




Ministry FAQs


Donation Information

Contact the BLB

Hotjar - Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites

BLB Institute

BLB Blog

Email Newsletters



Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

©2017 Blue Letter Bible


Verse Tools Arrow

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

Enter Your
Email or Username




Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Why won't my login from the old site work?

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

Enter Your EmailUsername

First Name


[ Cancel ]


Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or Username


Return to Login

Close Login