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Verses 32-33

Matthew 25:32-33. Before him shall be gathered all nations That is, all the individuals of all nations and ages; not only all that are found alive at the time of his appearing, and are changed in a moment, and rendered immortal, that they may be capable of enjoying eternal happiness, or of suffering everlasting misery, but all that had ever lived from the beginning to the end of time. All of every clime, country, and place, great and small, even from the remotest corners of the world. And he shall separate them one from another According to their different characters, (which he most perfectly knows,) with as much ease as a shepherd divideth his sheep, which belong to his flock, from the goats, which may be mingled with them, and places them in distinct companies. And he shall set the sheep The righteous, whom he will own as such, and who are termed sheep on account of their innocence, meekness, and usefulness; on his right hand In token of his favour to them, and of the further honours he purposes to bestow upon them. And the goats That is, the wicked, called goats because of the exorbitancy of their lusts; on his left To intimate his displeasure against them, and their final removal from among his people; nor shall the haughtiest and mightiest sinner be able to resist that appointment by which he is placed in this situation. “I cannot imagine,” says Dr. Doddridge, “a more magnificent image than this; the assembled world distinguished with such unerring penetration, and distributed into two grand classes, with as much ease as sheep and goats are ranged by a shepherd in different companies.” The wicked and the godly in this world dwell together in the same kingdoms, cities, churches, families, and are not with certainty distinguishable always one from another: such are the infirmities of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners, and one event frequently happening to both; but in that day they will be separated and parted for ever: for the Lord both knows them that are his, and them that are not, and he can and will separate them: and the separation will be so exact, that the most inconsiderable saint shall not be lost in the crowd of sinners, nor the most plausible sinner hid in the crowd of saints, Psalms 1:5; but every one shall go to his own place. Dr. Whitby thinks, that there is an allusion here to the received custom of the Jews in capital causes, to place them who are to be acquitted on the right hand, in the sanhedrim, and those who were to receive the sentence of condemnation, on the left.

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