When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:
The two earlier parables of judgment refer to those who are in confessed relationship with God. The parable of the ten virgins represents the relationship of friendship, - that of people who would share in the joys of God's home, as friends at a wedding feast; the parable of the talents represents a less intimate relationship, - that of service; the talents are committed to their proprietor's "own servants." Now the scene changes, and we are brought out to the larger world of the nations; the judgment of those who do not know Christ as their Friend or consciously serve him as their Master is here typified. To Jews this would mean the judgment of the Gentiles; to Christians it represents the judgment of the heathen, with those, also, who live in Christendom, but who do not give their adherence to any of the Churches.
I. CHRIST WILL JUDGE THE WORLD.
1. There will be a judgment of the world. This is not to be confined to the Church; it will not be only for those who acknowledge Christ. We cannot escape from it by ignoring the rule of Christ. The most heedless and careless, the most worldly and unspiritual, the most sceptical and materialistic, will be brought before the bar of the universal judgment.
2. This judgment will be in the hands of Christ. It will be conducted by the "Son of man," who, even when acting as a Judge, is to be regarded as a Shepherd dividing his flocks. Therefore the judgment will be conducted with humanity and with sympathy, with the discrimination of knowledge gained in experience.
II. THE JUDGMENT OF CHRIST WILL RESULT IN A TWOFOLD DIVISION.
1. There will be two classes. All are not condemned; but all are not approved. Even Jesus with all his graciousness must reprobate what is wrong. His gospel is not a security of salvation for the sinful impenitent.
2. There will be but two. These are the main divisions. All characters tend either downward or upward. We are all either in the narrow way or in the broad way - either sheep or goats.
3. These classes will be separated. At present they are united. There will be a revelation and a division, and each man will then go to his own place.
III. THE GROUND OF JUDGMENT WILL BE MEN'S CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE. It will not be a profession of religion, nor a creed, nor a performance of acts of worship. Christ looks chiefly to conduct in the world. He takes what is done to one of his brethren as the test. This is just the same as if it were done to him, because he is so perfectly sympathetic, that he feels what is done to his brother exactly as though it were done to himself. The rule is for the judgment of the heathen and those outside the Church of Christ. More is expected of Christ's own confessed followers - lamps well supplied with oil of grace, and faithful use of entrusted talents. But such people cannot be excused from what is expected even of the heathen. We can all best serve Christ by ministering to his brethren. This is what he most cares for.
IV. THE JUDGMENT WILL RESULT IN BLESSEDNESS AND PUNISHMENT.
1. There is the joy of the kingdom for the sheep on the right hand. It is remarkable to see that the kingdom was prepared for such from the foundation of the world. From the first its blessings were for many who are not in any visible Church, for many who do not know themselves to be Christians.
2. There is punishment for the goats on the left hand. The hard and selfish are those who receive this punishment. They will not escape it because of their ignorance or their refusal to recognize Christ. It will be unbearably awful. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: