APPLICATION OF THIS PARABLE
Next follows a description of the work of the Millennial Age. “Before Him shall be gathered all nations” This means all the people of the world outside of the Lord’s holy nation, His peculiar people, the Church. Everybody except the Church will be before His great white Throne of Justice, Mercy and Love; that will be their judgment time.
Six thousand years ago, Adam and his entire race were judged in Eden, and the sentence was death. None of the race are worthy of everlasting life. They are all sinners. In due time God sent His Son to die for Adam’s sin, in order that, “as by a man came death [of the entire race], by a man [Jesus] also will come the resurrection of the dead” [the entire race] “For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive”–“every man in his own order.”—1 Cor 15:21, 22
The first order to be made alive in Christ is the Church, called out of the world, separated, “begotten again” of the Holy Spirit. These pass their judgment, their trial, for life everlasting or death everlasting in the present time, i.e. during the Gospel Age.
Those in the parable are such as have accepted Christ’s terms and desire to be on judgment, or on trial, for everlasting life. This will include all in their graves, who, the Master tells us, will come forth, not all at once, but gradually. Messiah’s Kingdom will exercise its power and disseminate the knowledge of God and of righteousness, with a view to encouraging, helping and uplifting all the willing and obedient. All such may rise more and more out of sin and death conditions–out of imperfection of mind and body and out of immoral conduct to the full image of God, as possessed by Father Adam in the beginning.
Many however have stumbled over the the exact time of this judgement with most erroneously assuming that it takes place at the end of the Gospel age.
However the location (or time) of our parable is fixed by the rule of judgment or trial prescribed, viz., works. The positions assigned on the right hand or left, are expressly stated to be because (or inasmuch as) certain works were done or not done, viz., “insomuch as you did” Verse 40 and “insomuch as you did not” Verse 45.
The trial or judgment of the church NOW during the Gospel age is “not of works, but of faith.” By grace are YOU saved through FAITH “Not of works lest any man should boast.” “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Mark 16:16.
The reason for this, (that is the reason why you are saved by faith and not by works at the present time) may be readily seen: To test men by works in the Gospel age while under the dominion of the Prince of this world, and greatly crippled by the imperfections of our fallen nature, would be a very unfair standard. Hence, though now works according to our ability must naturally follow faith, our justification and reward are according to our faith, and not according to our works.
In the coming age the circumstances will be very different. With Satan bound, evil and error restrained, the clear light of truth shining, driving away all obscurity, mist, darkness and error, and consequently driving away all room and opportunity for doubt, faith will become the possession of all mankind: all will know the Lord from the least to the greatest. Therefore we may see the reasonableness of the Scripture teaching that the test in the next age will not be faith, which none could then avoid, but works, which under those favorable circumstances should result from the knowledge and opportunities then afforded.
We know of no statement of Scripture relative to the world’s trial during the Millennial Age, which mentions any other test of approval other than that of works. Of course, this will imply and include a previous faith in the ransom. Works will be the test of judgment in that age as faith is the test in this age.
Works was the basis of the Law covenant, which with its mediator– Moses, was a shadow or type of the good things coming–the New Covenant and its mediator –Christ. And thus Moses wrote of Christ, saying: “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me. Him shall ye hear in all things: and it shall come to pass that every soul [person] that will not hear [heed] that prophet (do, perform as instructed) shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23) This shows obedience (works) to be the basis of the antitypical covenant–the “New Covenant.”
The Apocalypse (or Revelation) teaches the same lesson regarding the world’s trial in the Millennial age, when the present thrones are cast down and the ruler-ship of earth is handed over to the saints, (Rev 20:4) when Satan is restrained (Verse 2); when the glorious New Jerusalem (heavenly kingdom) has come to rule the earth in harmony with the laws of heaven; and when the nations are being guided and directed by the light of truth shed abroad from it, (Rev 21:23, 24) When the books (of Scripture) are opened, and their teachings made clear and plain to all, and another book or record of those worthy of life-everlasting is open for recording the names of those who then shall be the Lord’s “sheep,” and worthy, as shown in the parable, to enjoy his favor and everlasting life; when the GREAT WHITE THRONE, representative of purity, justice, fairness and impartiality of the TRIAL, when all the world—small and great shall be tried by Him that sits upon the throne, the basis of that judgment or trial is expressly stated in these words, “And they were judged every man according to their works.” Rev 20:13
In perfect harmony then, is the teaching of Jesus in the parable under consideration. Love and its fruit, good works, will be the ground upon which the sheep of that age will be rewarded; and failure to develop and exercise these, under such favorable circumstances, is the peculiarity of the wayward “goat” class, condemned as unworthy of life–to be cut off–to die. God deems them unworthy of life, and our hearts and minds bow to his all-wise decision, “Every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” Let it not be forgotten that the millennial trial according to works, and ability of those being tried to render works of merit and approval, is based upon their redemption from the Adamic curse, by Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all. Had it not been for that redemption there never would be a millennial age of blessing and trial for the dead race. There could have been neither awakening nor trial had we not been bought with His precious blood.
Continued with next post.