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.
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.
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.
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 348.3Read in context »
“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 205.2Read in context »
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 637.1Read in context »
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 24.2Read in context »