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Matthew 25:33

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He shall set the sheep, etc. - The right hand signifies, among the rabbins, approbation and eminence: the left hand, rejection, and disapprobation. Hence in Sohar Chadash it is said, "The right hand is given, the left also is given - to the Israelites and the Gentiles are given paradise and hell - this world, and the world to come." The right and left were emblematical of endless beatitude and endless misery among the Romans. Hence Virgil: -

Hic locus est, partes ubi se via findit in ambas,

Dextera, quae Ditis magni sub moenia tendit:

Hac iter Elysium nobis; at laeva malorum

Exercet poenas, et ad impia Tartara mittit

Aen. vi. 540

Here in two ample roads the way divides,

The right direct, our destined journey guides,

By Pluto's palace, to the Elysian plains;

The left to Tartarus, where bound in chains

Loud howl the damn'd in everlasting pains.

Pitt

Of the good and faithful servants he approves, and therefore exalts them to his glory; of the slothful and wicked he disapproves, and casts them into hell.

Sheep, which have ever been considered as the emblems of mildness, simplicity, patience, and usefulness, represent here the genuine disciples of Christ.

Goats, which are naturally quarrelsome, lascivious, and excessively ill-scented, were considered as the symbols of riotous, profane, and impure men. They here represent all who have lived and died in their sins. See Ezekiel 34:17, and Zechariah 10:3.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Shall set the sheep … - By “the sheep” are denoted, here, the righteous. The name is given to them because the sheep is an emblem of innocence and harmlessness. See John 10:7, John 10:14-16, John 10:27; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 74:1; Psalm 23:1-6.

On the right hand - The right hand is the place of honor, and denotes the situation of those who are honored, or those who are virtuous. See Ecclesiastes 10:2; Ephesians 1:20; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:25, Acts 2:33.

The goats - The wicked. See Ezekiel 34:17.

The left - That is, the left hand. This was the place of dishonor, denoting condemnation. See Ecclesiastes 10:2.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.
Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 348.3

The judgment will be conducted in accordance with the rules God has laid down. By the law which men are now called upon to obey, but which many refuse to accept, all will be judged. As by it character is tested, every man will find his proper place in one of two classes. He will either be holy to the Lord through obedience to His law, or be stained with sin through transgression.... He will place the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left. Then men and women will see that their course of action has decided their destiny (The Review and Herald, June 18, 1901). LHU 348.3

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 205-7

“Ye have the poor with you always,” Christ said, “and whensoever ye will ye may do them good.” “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Mark 14:7; James 1:27. MH 205.1

In placing among them the helpless and the poor, to be dependent upon their care, Christ tests His professed followers. By our love and service for His needy children we prove the genuineness of our love for Him. To neglect them is to declare ourselves false disciples, strangers to Christ and His love. MH 205.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 637-41

This chapter is based on Matthew 25:31-46.

“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: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.” Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering. DA 637.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 24-30

From what has been shown me, Sabbathkeepers are growing more selfish as they increase in riches. Their love for Christ and His people is decreasing. They do not see the wants of the needy, nor feel their sufferings and sorrows. They do not realize that in neglecting the poor and the suffering they neglect Christ, and that in relieving the wants and sufferings of the poor as far as possible, they minister to Jesus. 2T 24.1

Christ says to His redeemed people: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, 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. 2T 24.2

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