separating sheep and goats
Brian E. Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 18:37:32 +0000
>Paul F. Evans wrote:
>I recently noticed a posting that began to broach the subject for
>pretrib. rapture. A quagmire indeed! However, coincidentally I came
>across the ref. in Matthew 25:31-32 with regards to Christ's return and
>the separating of the sheep from the goats.
>The phrasing "...KAI SUNACHQHSONTAI EMPROSQEN AUTOU PANTA TA EQNH, KAI
>AFORISEI AUTOUS AP' ALLHLWN,..."
>I am interested in the the later part "...PANTA TA EQNH, KAI AFORISEI
>AUTOUS AP' ALLHLWN,..." The PANTA TA EQNH is surely the standard
>designation of the Jews for Gentiles? if so doesn't this represent a
>collective concept of TA EQNH and not a concept of gathering distinct
>nations; rather all nations as a whole? The reason I ask is to
>detemine if the separating implies that of individuals, with in the
>nations viewed as a whole, or whether separating involves national
>blocks. To me the crux is the force AP' ALLHLWN, which seems to favour
>a ref. to the national blocks, meaning that TA EQNH is used a little
>differently than in the typical Jewish designation of "Gentiles," more
>along the lines "the separate nations."
>It would seem more biblically consistent to view the first alternative,
>that individuals are separated on the basis of faith in Christ, since
>it is hard to reconcile how one national block could be construed as
>"better" than another. I know traditionally theologians have argued
>the assessment will be made on the basis of how each treats Israel, but
>the context says nothing about this and I find it unconvincing.
>However, I am more concerned with the force of the prep. phrase!
>Paul F. Evans
>Thunder Swamp Pentecostal Holiness Church
>MT. Olive NC
I wonder whether the key to understanding the meaning of the whole
section on the sheep and the goats - Mt 25.31-46 - is to be found in the
words AMHN LEGW hUMIN EF hOSON EPOIHSATE hENI TOUTWN TWN ADELFWN MOY
TWN ELAXISTWN EMOI EPOIHSATE in verse 40. To me this says that the
righteous are those who have been compassionate even to the least
deserving person, as was Jesus, and that the final judgement will be
made on that basis. Even the most evil person is one of the brothers
(including sisters) of Jesus. Faith in the friend of sinners means us
being a friend of sinners too.
Brian E. Wilson