“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;” (Matthew 25:32)
This is a topic I rarely talk about but I mine as well address aspects of it.
Historically, the idea behind the great judgment is God judges the entire earth based on their deeds in this life (after a resurrection). This parable from Matthew 25 seems to also hint strongly it is about one’s actions, not one’s beliefs, that the judgment will based on. I tend to think that is ‘fair’. We can all answer for the way we treated other people…we can’t really put too much stock into what we think is ‘true’ (beliefs about God).
This idea does seem to say some will make it (as sheep) and some will not make it (as goats). What is the difference between the sheep and a goat? In this parable (allegory) – it seems to be just used as a way to define the difference in categories – like a sheep is not a goat and vice versa. On further inspection it looks like it only means one group followed the actions that lead to life and the others did not.
The reason I think their is merit to this idea, in faith, is that in the end we all must answer for our lives – why we did what we did – and if there is a God – He will at least keep us honest (even if we don’t have to be now). It also keeps us honest now – in a world not so ‘fair’. It puts the choices we make solely on our shoulders (our responsibility) – and no else is to blame for your direction (as any good counsellor will point out about dealing with life’s issues).
It’s just a topic of discussion more or less – we cannot say one way or another how this all looks and what happens in that court-room. We are given some direction and teaching on it that functions more for the personal reader. It’s a parable of which we judge ourselves against the story and not the story against others (we are the instruments of comparison alone). Which seems to be the way scripture is intended to be used.
“And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (Matt 21:44)