When I read the following scripture, frankly, I am somewhat disturbed by a contradiction that has existed among scholars for decades. And the contradiction seems to be between the scriptures themselves. Notice I said “seems”. Scripture cannot contradict if it is God’s Word. And the Bible is God’s word. Read this post and see if you get my point. We are going to be looking at the two groups of people involved in this Judgment that the Lord tells us will occur when He returns. — the sheep and the goats. But our emphasis is on the scriptures applying to the sheep. First, I want you to consider, that the reason for the distinction in the two groups of peoples representing the nations, is not based on what they did with Jesus as being the source of Jesus’ pronounced judgment. This judgement is based upon their works. I propose that it is the human righteousness of these man that distinguished between them, and secured there fate. For the Sheep it meant entrance, but man’s righteousness is false. Stick with me. These individuals don’t possess knowledge of Jesus — for us to believe that a belief in Jesus is the basis of this His Pronounced Judgment would be false. A True salvation is never stated here, and I don’t believe that it is implied. These sheep don’t even know that this Judgment of Nations is coming for them, so they can’t be Bible students. And they don’t even try to fake it — revealing to all around them that they know nothing of this passage of scripture that places them here. Yet, in the end one group is told that they are righteous (and to enter into eternal life), but are they guaranteed this life? This is the statement of scripture that can dissect truth from error. This confusion between terms forces us to study, or it causes us to just walk away. Some who walk away just determine to believe it the way they were taught it. To others they conclude that this can’t be true so scripture can’t be depended upon.
What we know is that this judgment is no where near an application of the gospel’s message??? Why then does it seem to yield salvation? Does Jesus know all of this? You bet He does. Are these sheep saved? — by works? Or is there something I’m missing? What are the facts? These sheep have not yet died, are they just being given opportunity to be saved based on their good works — their own righteousness? Let’s look at this passage on the subject, and then the other verses I list here. Read the whole passage if you like. I’m listing the pertinent part here. I’m not trying to change the message. Just save space. See if you can understand why God might be asking us to dig deeper than just the surface.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (God has a purpose for the sheep to be in the kingdom, even though they possess no salvation,). 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 37 Then the righteous (here in is the rub only in Christ is our righteousness made acceptable) will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (notice this does not say your brothers), you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matthew 25:32,34-35,37,40-42,46 ESV
They have entered into the age wherein there is eternal life, and into a kingdom that has been prepared for them. They occupy a prophesied place in The Millennium. They will comprise the nation’s ruled over by Christ, and The bride (which is also in scripture called His brethren, are we there standing with Him?) Recorded in John 17 is His prayer that we would always be with Him to see His glory. He now is the King of glory, and we are His bride.
Now consider Daniel chapter 7’s teaching about this same time of the Lords coming. Here it is revealed that the Antichrist beast system which has make up much of the world is now slain or destroyed. The goats would be included among these nations. But:
As for the rest of the beasts (these beasts in Daniels vision represent the nations see verse 3), their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. (Who are these? Are they these sheep nations? Are they not the nations over whom we will rule?)
Daniel 7:12 ESV
My question is — Why are they being prolonged for just a season and a time if they have entered this period wherein exists eternal life? They must be the same nations as those to be ruled over by us?
Now let’s move to Revelations description of this time.
And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations (these seem to be nations that have already been deceived by him before. Listen:) any longer, (he no longer can deceive them until) until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea (they have repopulated the earth during the Millennium. These sheep nations have not become the Sons of God as [Jesus had taught in Luke 20:35]. Here He taught the Jews concerning those who would be worthy of entering into the resurrection and this eternal age to come; (an age which has now come for all the saved.). and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:2-3,7-8,10 ESV
What we don’t yet know for sure is will these Nations of individuals or peoples, who have not died nor have they been resurrected, and thus they have never received a new body; then be judged at the great white throne Judgement or is their judgment finished? I think they will be judged. I’ll try to bring out why.
Question: are they or are they not found in the book of life? (remember the book of life is brought out at the Great white throne judgment. why?), This Judgment is of those belonging to the second death. We know that these souls of the Second death are not in the book of life. So why is the book of life brought out? Is it just for these sheep nations? it would seem that these sheep must be present there, and if there, and they are not found in this book then they will be thrown into the lake of fire. So why are they told to enter into eternal life in the beginning? It would seem that if they are found in the book of life, then that eternal life would have been found during the Millennium not before it. A life in Christ discovered would mean eternal life for them. So, this prior entering in, might just be into the age itself without a final decision concerning their salvation individually.
There is one other certain fact concerning these nations. Many will not stay in this place that they have entered which is the place of eternal life. Why? — because from among them are those who will subsequently rebel with Satan.
From this we know that these same sheep nations will once again be deceived by the devil so how then can some claim them to be saved in the first place? It seems that the continuous offer of eternal life was still in place for them because they had not yet rejected Christ or died. It is appointed unto man once to die and then comes the Judgment. Further we know that the Revelation states that all who do not receive the Mark and worship the beast will be given over into the power of Satan’s Antichrist and likely killed. So did these sheep deceive the deceiver in order to be present for this Sheep/goat judgment? Did they accept the mark in order to be able to help both themselves survive and while doing so help Jesus brethren to also survive?
God looks upon the heart could they have accepted the mark with no intention of worship? Could they be saved from death in this manner? They are not believers in Christ’s substitutionary work. Believers will neither accept the mark or be deceived at the end of the Millennium? These nations will be deceived by Satan; therefore their being required to offer sacrifice may be King Jesus’-justification. One that would not violate His own substitutionary end to sacrifice eliminating our need for sacrifice. He has no doubt put an end to the believers need for sacrifice. Yet these are not yet believers, and there is sacrifice taught to be performed by these Sheep nations during the millennium
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.
( Also see Ezekiel 36-38.
This sacrifice during the millennium is a truth placed in God’s word, so it will be done. It also will one day cease because God’s word says it will Hebrews 10:12-13
Were these nations saved and given eternal life in Christ at the judgment of nations; then sacrifice could not be done without violating and profaning Jesus’ own sacrifice. This controversy over the truth of these scriptures has brought a blight on Christianity ever since the Reformation, and this that I have recorded here I believe is close to being its answer. It may need more work, but given the Scriptural truths involved it seems to explain without confusion those truths. God’s word says that there will be sacrifices during the Millennium by these sheep nations. Hopefully what I have written here helps us see how this can be possible since these sheep have not had sins forgiven by Jesus death.
So, the probability of their lack of true salvation then is why one could entertain the need for sacrifice to occur during the millennium. If these nations are not saved they need a covering for their sin, until they either accept or reject Christ’s own sacrifice. Let me know your thoughts after you finish your own study.