The Olivet Discourse --Part 3

The Olivet Discourse
Part 3

W. Fraser Naismith

The third division of the Olivet Discourse commences with verse 31 of Matthew 25 and terminates at the close of that chapter.

The word “When” suggests a specific time. This is not imaginary for that which is divinely revealed as His purpose shall surely be fulfilled. The time is appointed, and the predicted events shall be enacted according to the Word of God.

The title “Son of Man” appears again in this section of the discourse. “Son of Man” is a title of our Lord first used in connection with His rejection, then used in reference to His manifestation in power and glory. Christ, as Son of Man, shall appear on the throne of His glory. At the present He sits in the Father’s throne — (Rev. 3:21); and also on “the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). In that day He shall sit upon His own throne. In His humiliation He came unto His own things, and His own people received Him not. On that future day He shall be manifested sitting on His glorious throne. What a pageantry! It will be a scene of holy splendour; Christ in those galaxies of glory seated on His throne and in attendance upon Him there will be a company of angels. Such splendour will bring delight to many hearts, but to others fear and trembling as Christ begins to judge the living nations.

The order in this discourse is unique. The opening section reveals the coming of Christ to His earthly people. It then proceeds to the three stories told by our Lord as He illustrated His coming in relationship to christendom. Finally, this section shows us the judgment of the living nations at the coming of Christ. Note that before Him are gathered “all nations.” At the Great White Throne it is the dead who are judged and there is not a reference to living people; here the living are judged, and there is no allusion to the dead. Righteousness is the characteristic of this One who sits on His throne. See Psalm 45:6; Isaiah 11:5; Acts 17:31. He is Judge of the living and the dead: for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.

The Throne-Sitter begins His work of segregation, as a shepherd would divide his sheep from the goats. The sheep represent the righteous, and the goats symbolise the ungodly. In righteousness the process of discrimination proceeds till all the sheep are on His right hand and the goats are on His left hand. When the task is completed, the Lord addresses those on the right hand thus: “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

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