“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Understanding And Applying the Text
Many believe this section of the Olivet discourse refers to the final coming of Jesus. In fact, that is the majority report. But remember the first three rules of biblical interpretation. Context. Context, Context. This is in response to the question,
“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”Matthew 24:3
Christ did not shift from the immediate to future unknown generations.
I hold my position with humility. I do not stand alone. But my position is a minority report. While I do not claim to be wiser than many great scholars. My faith is not based on their word. There must be evidence. And the evidence is overwhelming. Christ spoke about His current generation. He spoke about things that would occur soon. 2000 years later is not soon.
What are the consequences of the view this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled? Christ said it would occur soon. It did not occur soon. that makes Christ a liar. If Christ is a liar, He is a sinner. If He is a sinner He cannot be our savior. If He is not our savior, we are still in our sins. I have no hope of salvation. We will suffer God’s just wrath on sinners. So this is serious. It is not an intellectual exercise.
In previous studies and Chapters 24 and 25 we have seen the end of the age refers to the end of the Jewish age. It is not the end of history.
So what is Christ referring to when He talked about coming in glory? Partial preterists’ point of view is Jesus came in judgment in 70 AD. His coming destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem. But unlike Full preterism. partial preterists say this was a coming of Christ it was not the final coming.
If Christ came what is the evidence? It is easy to make the claim. But what is the evidence? Hundreds if not thousands of people should have seen it. History should have recorded it.
History did record it. The evidence comes to us from secular writers. It comes from Tacitus a Roman historian. And it comes from Josephus a Jewish historian. Here is an excerpt from Josephus’ Jewish Wars Book 6.
Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”Josephus, Flavius. Josephus Flavius: Complete Works and Historical Background (Annotated and Illustrated) (Annotated Classics)
Josephus was hesitant to report this phenomenon. But he felt he needed to do so. So many others had seen it. Jesus did come. He came in judgment and removed God’s protection. It occurred as He prophecied
What Christ told by parable He now said in clear unambiguous language. The disciples were to keep watch for Christ would come. Christ will spare and some will suffer judgment.
The disciples thought the messiah would save their nation. Instead, Christ’s return was to judge their nation.
As a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. So God separates the righteous from the wicked. The wicked mingle with the good and holy. They live together within the same flock of God. This comparison appears to be borrowed from Ezekiel 34:18. There the Lord complains of the fierceness of the goats. They attack the sheep with their horns. They destroy the pastures. They pollute the water. And the Lord declares that he will take vengeance on them.
Biblical prophecies often have many fulfillments. Yes, this was fulfilled in 70 AD. That does not mean it does not have another fulfillment. The fulfillment in 70 AD should increase our faith. The evidence is clear. Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled. It happened in real history. It happened when our Lord said it would. It is objective evidence Christ’s words are true. Why so many in the church try to deny the truthfulness of Christ’s prophecy is beyond me. He said. It happened. It happened as He said it would. It happened when He said it would. Praise God for giving us yet another objective reason for our faith.