Matthew 25:33
He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
The Great AssizeJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 25:31-46
The JudgmentMarcus Dods Matthew 25:31-46
The Judgment of the NationsW.F. Adeney Matthew 25:31-46

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.


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.


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.


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.

When the Son of Man shall come in His glory.
I. WHO ARE TO BE JUDGED? — "All nations."


1. The Judge will be righteous in His decisions.

2. The Judge Himself having been the witness of all the moral actions of men will require no evidence.

3. Then why do we live so thoughtlessly?

III. THE ISSUE OF THE JUDGMENT. Final separation of the wicked and the righteous.

(R. Jones, B. A.)


1. He will appear in that nature which He assumed as the Saviour of men.

2. The attributes of a suffering and degraded humanity will not be requisite to identify the Judge.

3. Heaven's innumerable inhabitants will accompany the Son of Man.

4. Then shall He set up the throne of His glory.


1. The veil has been removed which conceals His dignity.

2. His unsearchable wisdom and power is further exhibited in the separating process.


1. The Judge speaks from His throne as King in Zion.

2. He proceeds to assign reasons for the Father's having thus received them.

3. The language of surprise on the lips of the righteous.


1. Express our solemn satisfaction in the assurance that Christ will sit as Judge of the race.

2. Let us daily demonstrate our love to Christ by abounding in works of mercy.

3. If through self-interest any Christian be undone, he will be found without apology.

(J. Dixon.)


1. All the holy angels.

2. All nations.

3. All classes.

4. All ages.

5. All characters.

6. We shall be there.

7. All must obey the summons. Each must answer to his name.


1. Here, this separation is impossible. The tares grow with the wheat.

2. Here, while many unions are injurious, many separations are painful. There, all will feel that the separation is right.

3. It will be based on character. Here wealth, etc. sunders men. There, all will belong to one of two classes — sheep or goats.

4. Viewed from our present standpoint, many of those separations will be painful,


1. Even to the good.

2. Still more to the wicked. There will be no reversal of the sentence.

3. Execution will promptly follow the sentence.

(J. C. Gray.)

Contrast the first and last coming of Christ.

I. Its great revelations.

II. Its great account.

III. Its great separation.

IV. Its great decision.

(D. Gerok, D. D.)


1. His ability.

2. His prerogative.


1. Its exactness.

2. Its completeness.

3. Its consequences in respect to place and employment and interest.

4. Its duration.


1. On the ground of character.

2. The test of character being the state of mind and heart toward the Redeemer.

3. The evidence of a right state of mind and heart toward the Redeemer being the treatment of His people. "If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged."

(G. Brooks.)

Expository Outlines.
I. THE IMPORTANT PERIOD REFERRED TO. "When the Son of Man shall come."

1. What this statement implies. It is the certainty of the Saviour's second coming; no intimation given of the precise time.

2. What this statement announces — It tells us how He will come.

(1)The manner of His appearing — "in His glory."

(2)His numerous retinue — "and all the holy angels."

(3)The dignified position He will assume — "Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory."


1. The persons who will appear before Him — "all nations."

2. The division that will take place — "and He shall separate them."


1. The righteous.

(1)The ineffable welcome they receive.

(2)The special reasons adduced.

(3)The questions which the favoured throng propose.

(4)The explanation which is given in reply.

2. The wicked.

(1)Their awful doom.

(2)The grounds on which it rests.

IV. THE FINAL ISSUE DECLARED — "And these shall go away," etc.

(Expository Outlines.)



1. It will be made by the Judge Himself.

2. It will be made wholly on the ground of moral character.

3. It will take place at the judgment day.

4. It will be a separation in place and residence.

5. It will be a separation in interest and employment.

6. It will be eternal.


1. Upon our moral character formed in this state of probation.

2. This has an important bearing upon our earthly friendships.

3. What must be done in order to avoid being separated with the wicked.

(G. Coad.)

I. The coming.

II. The sitting.

III. The gathering.

IV. The separating.

V. The convicting.

VI. The sentencing.

VII. The executing.

(Dr. Bonar.)

The Judge of this world is Jesus Christ. Let us inquire —

I. How Christ cometh to be the world's Judge; and with what conveniency and agreeableness to reason this honour is put upon Him. To a judge there belongeth these four things —





II. Why is Christ the Judge of the world rather than the Father, and the Spirit, who made us and gave the law to us? These have one common nature, and the operations that are with the Divine essence, are common to them all. There is also an order and economy, according to which all their operations are produced, and brought forth to the creature; according to which order their power of judging fell partly to the Father, and partly to the Son.

(T. Manton.)

Doctrine. That Christ's appearance for the judgment of the world shall be glorious and full of majesty.


1. The dignity of His person.

2. The quality of His office.

3. The greatness of His work.

4. The foregoing appearances of Christ. Why will He come in this great glory?

(1)To take off the scandal and ignominy of the cross.

(2)To beget a greater reverence and fear in the hearts of all those that shall be judged by Him.

(3)For the comfort of His people; for Christ is a pattern and pledge of what shall be done in them.

II. His ROYAL ATTENDANCE — "Holy angels with Him."

1. Partly for a train.

2. Partly that, by their ministry, the work of the day may be more speedily dispatched.

(T. Manton.)

A shepherd among men is not lord of the flock, but a servant to take charge of them.


1. Known by His care and vigilancy.

2. Shown by His pity and wisdom, to deal tenderly with the flock, as their state doth require.

3. Seen in His constantly.performing all parts of a shepherd to them.

4. Proved in His giving His life for them.


1. Great in His person; the Son of God.

2. Great in regard to the excellency of His gifts and qualifications.

3. Great in regard of His flock; He is the Shepherd of souls, millions of them are committed to His charge, and one soul is more worth than all the world.

(T. Manton.)

1. Sheep are such kind of creatures as naturally gather themselves together, and unite themselves in a flock.

2. They are innocent and harmless creatures.

3. They are obedient to the shepherd.

4. They are poor, dependent creatures

(a)because of their erring (wandering)property;

(b)because of their weakness.

(T. Manton.)

They are as goats both for their unruliness and uncleanness. Unruliness; they have not the meekness of sheep; are ready to break through all fence and restraint; so a wicked man is yokeless. They are also wanton and loathsome — 'tis a baser sort of animal than the sheep — therefore chosen to set forth a wicked and ungodly man.

(T. Manton.)

Mount of Olives
Goats, Indeed, Sheep, Stand
1. The parable of the ten virgins,
14. and of the talents.
31. Also the description of the last judgment.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 25:33

     7024   church, nature of

Matthew 25:1-46

     2309   Christ, as judge

Matthew 25:14-46

     8344   servanthood, in believers

Matthew 25:31-33

     2018   Christ, divinity
     2363   Christ, preaching and teaching
     6125   condemnation, divine

Matthew 25:31-36

     5500   reward, God's people

Matthew 25:31-40

     5878   honour
     7150   righteous, the

Matthew 25:31-41

     9240   last judgment

Matthew 25:31-46

     1075   God, justice of
     5006   human race, destiny
     5381   law, letter and spirit
     6026   sin, judgment on

Matthew 25:32-33

     4684   sheep
     8341   separation

Matthew 25:32-34

     1270   right hand of God

Matthew 25:32-41

     4915   completion

Matthew 25:32-46

     1220   God, as shepherd
     2330   Christ, as shepherd

Matthew 25:33-34

     5156   hand

The Surprise of the Righteous
Preached at Southsea for the Mission of the Good Shepherd. October 1871. St Matt. xxv. 34-37. "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

November 16. "Watch Therefore, for Ye Know Neither the Day" (Matt. xxv. 13).
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day" (Matt. xxv. 13). Jesus illustrates the unexpectedness of His coming by the figure of a thief entering a house when the master was not there. Life, like the old Jewish night, may be divided into three watches, youth, maturity, old age. The summons to meet God may come to us in either of these watches. A writer tells us of his experience with a camping party, of which he was a member, and which, he tells us, always arranged to have watches at night. "We
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

'They that were Ready'
'They that were ready went in with him to the marriage.' --MATT. xxv. 10. It is interesting to notice the variety of aspects in which, in this long discourse, Jesus sets forth His Second Coming. It is like the flood that swept away a world. It is like a thief stealing through the dark, and breaking up a house. It is like a master reckoning with his servants. These three metaphors suggest solemn, one might almost say alarming, images. But then this parable comes in and tells how that coming is like
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Dying Lamps
'Our lamps are gone out.'--MATT. xxv. 8. This is one of the many cases in which the Revised Version, by accuracy of rendering the tense of a verb, gives a much more striking as well as correct reproduction of the original than the Authorised Version does. The former reads 'going out,' instead of 'gone out,' a rendering which the Old Version has, unfortunately, relegated to the margin. It is clearly to be preferred, not only because it more correctly represents the Greek, but because it sets before
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Waiting Maidens
'Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7. Then all those virgins arose,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Traders for the Master
'For the kingdom of heaven la as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18. But he that had received one
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King on his Judgment Throne
'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: 32. And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xxv. 1, "Then Shall the Kingdom of Heaven be Likened unto Ten virgins. "
1. Ye who were present yesterday remember my promise; which with the Lord's assistance is to be made good to-day, not to you only, but to the many others also who have come together. It is no easy question, who the ten virgins are, of whom five are wise, and five foolish. Nevertheless, according to the context of this passage which I have wished should be read again to you to-day, Beloved, I do not think, as far as the Lord vouchsafes to give me understanding, that this parable or similitude relates
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xxv. 24, Etc. , Where the Slothful Servant who Would not Put Out the Talent He had Received, is Condemned.
1. My lords, my brethren, and fellow bishops have deigned to visit us and gladden us by their presence; but I know not why they are unwilling to assist me, when wearied. I have said this to you, Beloved, in their hearing, that your hearing may in a manner intercede for me with them, that when I ask them they also may discourse unto you in their turn. Let them dispense what they have received, let them vouchsafe to work rather than excuse themselves. Be pleased, however, to hear from me, fatigued
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

The Two Talents
Now, there are some men in the world who have but few talents. Our parable says, "One had five, and another two. To them I shall address myself this morning; and I pray that the few pointed things I may say, may be blessed of God to their edification or rebuke. First, I shall notice the fact that there are many persons who have but few talents, and I will try to account for God's dispensing but few to them. Secondly, I shall remind them that even for these few talents they must be brought to account.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Tenth Chapter
An excellent sermon which this Doctor delivered in a convent after his illumination, concerning Christ the true Bridegroom of the soul, in the which he showed how she is to follow Him in true, shamefaced, humble, and patient resignation, and how Christ tries her beforehand in divers ways, and at last accepts her lovingly. Taken from these words--"Ecce sponsus venit, exite obviam ei" (Matt. xxv. 6). DEAR children, it may be now two years or more since I last preached. I spoke to you then of four-and-twenty
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

The Day of Judgment. Extracted from a Sermon by Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, and Martyr, 1555. (1)
LUKE XXI.(2) As we die so we shall rise again. If we die in the state of damnation, we shall rise in that same state. Again, if we die in the state of salvation, we shall rise again in that state, and come to everlasting felicity, both of soul and body. For if we die now in the state of salvation, then at the last general day of judgment we shall hear this joyful sentence, proceeding out of the mouth of our Saviour Christ, when he will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess that kingdom which
John Knox—The Pulpit Of The Reformation, Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

Conclusion of Our Lord's Discourse. Parables of virgins and Talents. The Final Judgment.
(Mount of Olives. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXV. 1-46. ^a 1 Then [i. e., at the time of the Lord's coming. Jesus is still emphasizing the lesson of watchfulness, and proceeds to enforce it by two parables] shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten [probably the usual number on such occasions] virgins, who took their lamps [small earthenware vessels, with flax wicks, and without glass chimneys], and went forth to meet the bridegroom. [The Oriental wedding began with a feast in the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Evening of the Third Day in Passion-Week-On the Mount of Olives-Last Parables: to the Disciples Concerning the Last Things-The Parable of the Ten virgins-The Parable Of
1. As might have been expected, the Parables concerning the Last Things are closely connected with the Discourse of the Last Things, which Christ had just spoken to His Disciples. In fact, that of the Ten Virgins, which seems the fullest in many-sided meaning, is, in its main object, only an illustration of the last part of Christ's Discourse. [5521] Its great practical lessons had been: the unexpectedness of the Lord's Coming; the consequences to be apprehend from its delay; and the need of personal
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Appendix xix. On Eternal Punishment, According to the Rabbis and the New Testament
THE Parables of the Ten Virgins' and of the Unfaithful Servant' close with a Discourse on the Last Things,' the final Judgment, and the fate of those Christ's Righ Hand and at His Left (St. Matt. xxv. 31-46). This final Judgment by our Lord forms a fundamental article in the Creed of the Church. It is the Christ Who comes, accompanied by the Angelic Host, and sits down on the throne of His Glory, when all nations are gathered before Him. Then the final separation is made, and joy or sorrow awarded
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Parable of the Talents (Matt. , xxv. , 14-30) Compared with that of the Pounds (Luke, xix. , 12).
The parable of the talents (Matt., xxv.) is evidently allied to that of the pounds [690] (Luke, xix., 12); but there are points of difference too striking to be ascribed to alterations in transmission. In the latter, each of the servants receives the same sum, one pound, and their position in the kingdom is assigned according to their gains. In the former, different sums are intrusted to the servants in proportion to their ability, and those who bring gains in the same proportion are rewarded accordingly.
Augustus Neander—The Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion

The Ten virgins.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

The Entrusted Talents.
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

Of the Prerogatives which the Elect Shall Enjoy in Heaven.
By reason of this communion with God, the elect in heaven shall have four superexcellent prerogatives:-- 1. They shall have the kingdom of heaven for their inheritance (Matt. xxv.; 1 Pet. i. 4), and they shall be free denizens of the heavenly Jerusalem (Eph. ii. 19; Heb. xii. 22.) St. Paul, by being a free citizen of Rome (Acts xxi. 26), escaped whipping; but they who are once free citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, shall ever be freed from the whips of eternal torments. For this freedom was bought
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Works by J. G. Bellett.
The Patriarchs. Being meditations upon Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Job; with The Canticles, and Heaven and Earth. 435 pp. Cloth, post-paid,
F. C. Jennings—Old Groans and New Songs

"Thence He Shall Come to Judge the Quick and Dead. ...
12. "Thence He shall come to judge the quick and dead." The quick, who shall be alive and remain; the dead, who shall have gone before. It may also be understood thus: The living, the just; the dead, the unjust. For He judges both, rendering unto each his own. To the just He will say in the judgment, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world." [1793] For this prepare yourselves, for these things hope, for this live, and so live, for this
St. Augustine—On the Creeds

Letter Lvii to the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine
To the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine [87] He thanks them for having hitherto remitted customs [or tolls, but asks that they will see that their princely liberality is not interfered with by the efforts of their servants. To the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine, Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, sends greeting, and prays that they may so lovingly and purely rejoice in each other's affection that the love of Christ alone maybe supreme in them both. Ever since the needs of our Order obliged me to send for necessaries
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Letter Liii to Another Holy virgin of the Convent of S. Mary of Troyes
To Another Holy Virgin of the Convent of S. Mary of Troyes [84] He dissuades her from the rash and imprudent design which she had in her mind of retiring into some solitude. 1. I am told that you are wishing to leave your convent, impelled by a longing for a more ascetic life, and that after spending all their efforts to dissuade and prevent you, seeing that you paid no heed to them, your spiritual mother or your sisters, determined at length to seek my advice on the matter, so that whatever course
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

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