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What Should be our Response to Israel?

Matthew  25:31-46    

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Commentary in NIV Study Bible, 1985 Edition25:31-46 

 The two most widely accepted interpretations of this judgment are:

  1. It will occur at the beginning of an earthly millennial kingdom (vv. 31-34). Its purpose will be to determine who will be allowed to enter the kingdom (v. 34) The criterion for judgment will be the kind of treatment shown to the Jewish people (“these brothers of mine,” v. 40) during the preceding great tribulation period (vv. 35-40, 42-45). Ultimately, how a person treats the Jewish people will reveal whether or not he is saved (vv. 41-46).
  2. The judgment referred to occurs at the great white throne at the end of the age (Rev 20:11-15). Its purpose will be to determine who will be allowed to enter the eternal kingdom of the saved and who will be consigned to eternal punishment in hell (vv. 34, 46). The basis for judgment will be whether love is shown to God’s people (see 1 Jn 3:14-15).