Question: What is the meaning of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats?
Matthew 24-25is essentially eschatological that pertains to the end times. There are four approaches to eschatology viz. The Preterist, Historicist, Premillennial (historical and dispensational) and Idealist (postmillennialism & amillennialism).
To the preterist, this parable met its fate in 70 AD when Rome sacked Jerusalem. To the historist, its all symbolic which allows history to repeat itself to this day. To the dispensationalist, its a potent case for Jews and Gentiles while the Church is raptured. To the postmillennialist (and the amillennialist that tend to spiritualize scripture), Christian triumphalism that ushers the Second Advent shall witness the Lord sift the sheep from the goats. Loosely said then, which approach is best is anyone’s guess.
Personally, an approach that is less liberal in interpreting Scripture yet literal is that of dispensationalism. Scripture also states clearly that God has promised to restore Israel to her land for a period of judgment and redemption. When the Tribulation begins (and Daniel cites several reasons why Israel must suffer seven years of Tribulation) God’s wrath shall sieve a world while He chastises Israel for sins committed under the Mosaic Covenant. Jeremiah declared that although the time of Jacob’s troubles shall see the judgment of God, Israel will ultimately be saved.
Recommended study: New Testament Scripture on Eschatology: Matthew 24:4-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 17:23-37; 21:5-36; 1 Corinthians 15:55-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Peter 3:3-13; Revelation 1:7-8; 4; 20:4-15. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1983); Charles Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2007); John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1989).
19 June 2014
See Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/581