This post finalizes my examination of the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). It has been an adventure for me if not for you. Frankly, I had started this exposition with a more universalistic approach and ended up with a particularistic result. I expected an end-of-the-world Judgment and found one instead in AD 70. I thought it was talking about an evaluation of people and found instead an assessment of ethnic groups. It thought I would find eternity and instead found history.
Archive for November, 2005
This post will discuss the fate of the sheep and the goats. The most common interpretation is that the sheep and goats go to heaven and hell respectively. I would have little argument with that interpretation. It does not undo anything I have stated so far. The only assumption change would be that the ethnic groups in this parable would all have been killed at the Judgment of Jerusalem.
On their own, an argument can be made for any of the three. In the context of Matthew, when disciples asked their question, Jesus had not yet gone to the cross, Jerusalem was not yet destroyed, and certainly the world had not ended. None of the three possible times of Judgment had occurred. Jesus answer even appears to combine elements of all three. Parts appear to apply to the destruction of Jerusalem and other parts appear to apply to the end of the world. The temptation is to apply Jesus answer to all three periods in a kind of eschatological smorgasbord. However, this would be a last recourse. It would make the entire discourse, not to mention the parable, less definite and less precise.
To see previous Joshua’s People cartoons, click on the “Joshua’s People Gallery” tab on the sidebar.
In the Heretic household, the family joins together in front of the television to herald the start of the Christmas season. The object of our attention: the Christmas movie that embodies all that the season is about in terms of the American culture. Is the movie the many incarnations of “A Christmas Carol”? How about the animated versions of Rudolph and Frosty? “A Charilie Brown Christmas”? A Hallmark Classic? Nope. The start of our season begins with a viewing of “Jingle All The Way.”
Now comes the hardest part of expositing this passage. Exactly when did or will the events described in this passage occur? Most people who read the passage stare at me quizzically as I describe my confusion. “How can you be questioning the when of this passage?” they ask. “The answer is obvious.”
The problem is that I get at least two completely different “obvious” answers. Minority opinions add even more alternatives.
In honor of the official start of the Christmas season, I will review and discuss one of my favorite seasonal (and non-seasonal) websites: the Christmas Conspiracy. “The Christmas Conspiracy” is the labor of love of Kevin Craig. Kevin himself is interesting enough to use as the basis for a character in a book, play, or movie.
Okay, this panel is out of sequence with the series, but it seemed so perfect for Thanksgiving. Hope your day is joyous, celebrational, and fattening. To see past posts of Joshua’s People cartoons, click on the Joshua’s People Gallery tag on the sidebar.
“I know of only one sure-fire way to determine if a leader has my best interests at heart: Is he willing to take a bullet that was meant for me? I am certain Jesus Christ claimed to be that sort of leader.” (Lee Strobel in the Case for Christ: Student Edition) For past posts of [...]
Now I am adding a new “must read”: After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change” by Bruce W. Winter. This book is mandatory for anyone is preparing a sermon or study on 1 Corinthians. Like Pilch and Malina, Winter is a member of the Context Group of scholars. Despite its scholarly base, the book is readable and even enjoyable.