Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, September 29, 2019 

Shavuah Tov and Shanah Tovah *|FNAME|*,

Thank you, Raymond Finney, for this RR submission.  Your work is always appreciated.  

Yeshua’s End-time Parables (No. 3): Parable of the Sheep and Goats

INTRODUCTION: This parable is the third of Yeshua’s end-time parables recorded in Matthew, chapter 25. Please read the entire parable (Matthew 25:31-46).

This parable is actually a mini-drama. Like all dramas, we need a playbill:

** Time: Future– after the Tribulation (immediately after Yeshua’s Second Coming)

** Place: Earth

** Cast: All nations– peoples of the world who survive the Tribulation, including: Sheep: saved (obedient) Gentiles / Goats: unsaved (disobedient) Gentiles / “My [Yeshua’s] brethren:” Jews, Christians, Believers / The King: Yeshua HaMashiach

** Stage props: King’s (Yeshua’s) throne / No books (including no Lamb’s Book of Life).

SYNOPSIS OF PARABLE: Yeshua prophesied His Second Coming (Second Advent), when He will sit on His throne as Judge. In His First Coming (First Advent), Yeshua came in three capacities: Prince of Peace (to return as King of kings and Lord of lords); as Priest (to become High Priest); and Prophet (which will not exist in eternity because He will have fulfilled all prophecy and there can be no more prophecy after Him).

“All nations” will gather before Him. He will divide the people, as a shepherd separates his flock. “Goats” will be gathered on His left; “sheep,” on His right. (“Nations” translates the Greek ethnos, which carries the understanding of the people of nations, not political [map] boundaries.)

He will invite the “sheep” to enter the Father’s Kingdom. These “sheep” had ministered to those in need during the Tribulation. They did not persecute God’s people– Jews, Christians, Believers. “Sheep” minister to people in need even today.

Then, He will cast the “goats” into Hell. These “goats” had not ministered to those in need or had mistreated God’s people during the Tribulation. “Goats” fail to minister to those in need or mistreat people even today.

In recent times, a great persecution of God’s people occurred in Nazi Germany, when Jews and other “undesirable” people were imprisoned and killed. Even though Adolf Hitler and his evil followers killed millions of Jews, there were Gentile persons in the Third Reich who protected Jews from detection and death (example: protectors of Anne Frank and her family).

Other humans will be oblivious to the Antichrist’s evil (example: native peoples living in the Amazon jungle). Evil (guilty) people will be cast into Hell, whereas innocent (not guilty) people will pass into the Millennial Kingdom of Yeshua. These “sheep” will be mentored in God’s ways by angels and Believers, and they will repopulate the New Earth.

WHEN GOOD PEOPLE ARE HELPLESS: We are familiar with a quotation attributed to Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Why will people during the Tribulation permit horrors to occur to innocent people?”

Separate note – the quote will continue.  It is easy for us to say that we would stop the Antichrist for his diabolical persecution of Jews and Christians. Really? The Tribulation will be the worse time in history (Matthew 24:21): [Yeshua said] “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  End note – the quote continues.

“I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

“A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

“Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us.

“We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time the train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we’d just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more.

“Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

“Now, so many years later, I see it happening all over again in America. God forgive you as Americans for you have blocked out the screams of millions of your own children. The holocaust is here. The response is the same as it was in my country – SILENCE!”

Do you “sing a little louder” to drown out the needs of others asking for help?

I am passionately pro-life. It bothers me that I live less than twenty miles from a Knoxville abortion “clinic.” I know unborn babies are ripped apart in the name of convenience for mothers and profits for the clinic abortionists, owners, and staff. God forgive me, I can do nothing to stop these acts. God forgive us all, these procedures are protected by MY government– the United States government– a government said to be founded on Judeo-Christian precepts.

Note – If you are a mother of an aborted baby and reading this, please pause and receive the forgiveness available through Messiah Yeshua.  The Lord is present and He wants to minister to you in a loving way; to heal your pain, to hold you in His arms and assure you that His love is sufficient.  End note.

During the Tribulation, even far greater evil will prevail, and good men and women will be powerless to do anything about it. These people will be the “sheep” in Yeshua’s parable, but the “goats” will prevent any goodness from coming to the surface.

MORAL CONCLUSION: In the RR of last Sunday (September 22), I mentioned the important writing of James, or Jacob (James 2:14-20). He wrote that we will recognize faith when it is coupled with good works, giving an example of a starving, naked person not being helped by our saying to him/ her: “Be clothed and have your belly filled” (James 2:15-16). That person in need will still be naked and hungry, when we leave. The person needs clothing and food, not our best wishes.

Yeshua ended the Parable of the Sheep and Goats with a similar message. Read Mathew 25:34-45.

DILEMMA: Our nation has a growing homelessness problem. Most homeless people are afflicted with major psychiatric problems or drug addiction. If you go to a major city (Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.), you will likely be accosted by a homeless person, asking for money. If you feel compassion and give him/ her money, you know it most likely will be used to purchase beer or other drugs. Your compassion actually exacerbates the problem of homelessness. I no longer give money to panhandlers. Discernment overtakes compassion, even though I feel guilty in not giving to help the “least of these, [Yeshua’s brother or sister].”

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION: The disciples often seemed slow in understanding Yeshua. Such is the case in this parable. They asked: Lord, when did we ever see You in need and not come to Your aid? Yeshua answered:

** (Matthew 25:40): “And the King [Yeshua] will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

** (Matthew 25:45): “Then He [Yeshua] will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”

In other words, when a Believer does something good for a person in need, he/ she does something good for Yeshua. But, when a Believer fails to do something good for a person in need, he/ she fails to do something good for Yeshua.

What need does an eternal God need with our puny efforts? I am reminded of a song about a mother’s love. A small child picked his mother some dandelion flowers, and proudly carried them to her in his chubby, little hands. The mother praised his gift. When he reached adulthood, he wrote of his mother, something like– she should have had bouquets of roses, but she was happy with the weeds I gave her. Our best– our “filthy rags” – should mean little to the Creator of the Universe (Isaiah 64:6a): But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;…. BUT, when we do something for others because of our love and our wish to serve Him, He surely takes notice. An act of love– not the object of love– is important.

Yeshua gave a similar teaching in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30-37).

Yeshua seems serious that a Believer MUST show his/ her love by loving others. Remember the second greatest of commandments is a simple one to memorize, but a difficult one to put into action (Matthew 22:39): [Yeshua said] “And the second [commandment] is like [the first commandment]: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” For example, if you love yourself enough to eat, you will want your neighbor– Yeshua’s brother or sister– to also eat.

THE PARABLES THAT WARN: The three parables in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew are usually called “end-time” or “last days” parables. These designations are correct, because they take place at the end of the Age of Grace, but a better designation would be “Yeshua’s Warning Parables.” Yeshua told these parables as strict warnings for Believers:

** The Parable of the Virgins warns a Believer to keep the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) as the most important aspect of his/ her life and to always work for the Kingdom of God.

** The Parable of the Talents warns a Believer to use God-given gifts to work for the Kingdom of God, multiplying the gifts (wealth) into even greater wealth.

** The Parable of the Sheep and Goats warns a Believer to serve Yeshua by serving neighbors in need, because such persons are Yeshua’s brothers and sisters.

The consequence of not doing these things may be banishment to Hell, even though in at least two of these parables the Believers (virgins, servants) thought they were in good standing with the Master. Anyone who does not stop to think soberly about the significance of these parables is, politely, as dense as concrete.

Yeshua will return– perhaps, soon. Are you ready to meet Him face to face? Consider:

** (Hosea 10:12): Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

** (Matthew 24:36): [Yeshua said] “But of that day and hour [of My return] no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

** (Mark 13:33-37): [Yeshua said] “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming– in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning– lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

** (Luke 12:37a): [Yeshua said] “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching….”

** (Romans 13:11): And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

** (1 Thessalonians 5:6): Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

** (2 Peter 3:9): The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

** (Revelation 3:3): [Yeshua said] “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

** (Revelation 3:20): [Yeshua said] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Shalom and Maranatha!

Father: Thank you for Yeshua’s warnings about ways we should live. By heeding these warnings and by keeping watch, we honor the two greatest commandments– love You, love others. Thank You for Your plan, established at the foundation of the world, that Yeshua will some day return in the clouds to call faithful, hard-working Believers to Heaven to be evermore with You. Help us to be receptive to any messages from the Holy Spirit to learn ways of service for Your Kingdom. May we be overjoyed with any way we can serve you. As John the Revelator wrote, “Even so, come, Lord Yeshua.” Amen.