"Sheep" vs "Goats"
(Last revision: 12-20-2013)
One of the best things about the book of Matthew in the Christian Bible is that it reports that Jesus of Nazareth said that when the "son of man" comes to deliver judgment to the world at the end of the age, he would distinguish between peoples according to their words, works, deeds and behavior, and set them on one side or the other, as "sheep" and "goats."
According to Matthew, Jesus said that the modern son of man would explain that the "sheep" on one side are blessed, because they fed him when he was hungry, gave him drink when he was thirsty, took him in when he was a stranger, clothed him when he was poor, cared for him when he was sick, and visited him when he was in prison. But, on the other side he will set the "goats," who he rebukes because they have not cared for him like that.
Jesus said that both the "sheep" and the "goats" will ask the son of man, "When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison?" And the "cursed goats" who he judges will further ask him, "When did we not minister unto you?"
Then Jesus said that the son of man would answer them all, saying: "As you have done to the least our brethren, so you have done to me." (Matthew 25:31-46)
This is consistent with another thing Jesus said the modern son of man would do. Jesus said that when the son of man exposes and rebukes the hypocrites, they would cry out to heaven, saying: "Lord, Lord, have we not cast out devils and done many wonderful works in your name?"
But Jesus said the son of man would say: "I never knew you, depart from me, you that work iniquity."
Now, the message the son of man delivers before him will come as a shock to those on the so-called "Christian Right" who proudly boast of being "Born-Again Christians" while being extreme right-wing partisan "conservative" Republicans sitting on the "right side of the political isle."
What they don't realize, though, is that they are seen on the left by those they face, and Jesus said the son of man would set the goats to the left, as he sees them, which would be on the political right.
Therefore, considering that, and considering their words, actions and behavior, right-wing conservative partisans are actually the "goats" who "work iniquity in the name of the Lord" -- because they generally serve Mammon and represent the powerful wealthy few who seek and fight for personal power, wealth and and domain and tend to be arrogant, self-righteous and self-important, and they are driven by self-interest and greed and apparently don't care how the working poor and the poor and the least of our brethren are treated.
On the other hand, those on the left side of the political isle are, generally speaking, the "sheep," who have traditionally been motivated by the best interests of the vast majority, the poor and the least of our brethren, and are supposed to be advocates of peace. (In the Sixties those on the left were called "doves," as opposed by right wing militants who were called "hawks.")
The Son of Man Who Judges the Goats
Most Christians interpret Matthew to mean that the son of man who renders judgment will be Jesus himself, and it's no wonder. As the Christian Right will quickly point out, in the Christian Bible (as we know it), the authors (or later copiers or translators) wrote that the "Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and as King shall say unto them ..." And it was written that Jesus said: "I will profess to them ..." which seems to indicate that the modern son of man will be Jesus himself, which is one of the several reasons Christians believe Jesus will come again, this time as a worldly King.
However, Jesus did not actually say he would come again. In fact, he said he had "to go away and be seen no more" on earth. Furthermore, the modern son of man that Jesus said would come at the end of the age rejects the throne just as Jesus did, and in fact glorifies the Christ in heaven as Jesus said he would. (See the article on Prophecies Re: He Who Fulfills Them, particularly the explanation of John 8:28, 12:47 and 16:7-15, and the article on Isaiah Chapter 53.)
Jesus said humanity at that time was not yet ready to hear certain truths. But, he said, another son of man, the messenger for the Spirit of truth would come to issue judgment, guide you unto the truth, show you things to come, and glorify him (the Christ who is in heaven with God).
You see, unbeknownst to most Christians, the son of man referred to in the Torah and Tanakh (Old Testament), and in certain instances in Christian scriptures, is not the historical Jesus "come again." Furthermore, as Moses and the Hebrew prophets wrote, God is not a man, nor a son of man. In accurate biblical terms, a son of man is a witness and servant of God. And the modern son of man bears testimony of the Christ and the Spirit of truth.
When Jesus used the words "I will rebuke them..." he meant his testimony and the Spirit of truth will rebuke them. It was one of many instances where Jesus spoke as the Ancient One, for the Ancient One. That’s why Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." He spoke as the Ancient One who is in heaven with God, but he did not speak as God. In fact, Jesus said: "Of myself I do nothing, but the will of the One who sent me, our God in heaven."
Thus it is the modern son of man who issues judgment. And he knows how the poor and the least of our brethren have been treated, because he has been here since 1941, witnessed God in 1971, traveled extensively across and around America from 1974 to 1979, both on foot as a wandering ascetic, and by vehicle after he was first stricken and afflicted (as Isaiah foresaw), then realized his mission in 1979 and in 1983 began delivering his work before him in letters, articles, then in manuscripts, and finally in 2002 in books and on the Internet.
The Modern Son of Man
As the prophet Isaiah foretold, this servant of God will "not cause his voice to be heard in the street," as Jesus did. That is, this son of man will not speak in public but deliver "his work before him," as Isaiah put it. After delivering it to individuals and groups during the 1980s and '90s, and after publishing his first book and Internet site in January 2002, he published more books and now his work is summarized in this message on this web site (which is delivered electronically, as "lightening", as prophets like Isaiah and Jesus put it), even though he knew the message would first and so far be rejected by his generation, just as both Jesus and Isaiah foretold.
But while the judgment he delivers is firm and strong, it is compassionate and does not condemn anyone who acknowledges their error and repents. And he reveals that it is not true what is written at the end of that passage in Matthew, where it is written that the "cursed goats shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the blessed and the righteous sheep shall go into life eternal." (Matthew 25:46)
That vindictive nonsense was written with the belief that the "second coming" of Jesus and the "end of the world" were imminent, and with the belief that God would not be merciful with hypocrites. Paul, Matthew and certain other canonized authors believed that, even though they did not understand the truth of the matter, and were wrong about that.
Divinely inspired references to "the end" are about the end of the passing age. And, as the Christ Jesus said, judgment is up to the modern son of man. However, he is not Jesus of Nazareth magically "returned."
Jesus of Nazareth was not talking about himself when he spoke a son of man to come. Jesus said he had come not to judge the world, but he said the son of man to come, the messenger for the Spirit of truth, would issue judgment, guide you unto truth, show you things to come, and glorify the Christ in heaven (John 8:28, 12:47, and 16:7-15). The prophet Isaiah said that the witness and servant of God would deliver judgement Isaiah 42:1-4). Jeremiah 33:15-17 says something similar. And they were all talking about the modern son of man.
Fortunately for the hypocrites, the modern son of man reveals that the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah means that when hypocrites and sinners who commit offenses against their fellow man realize their error and repent and ask for forgiveness, and sin no more, they will be forgiven by our merciful God and may forgive themselves.
The modern son of man reveals that the idea of sending people to "eternal hell" is part of the antiquated, exclusive, punitive and condemning doctrines of patriarchs who unintentionally misrepresented God. Even though they may have meant well by issuing such judgments, they are in fact the "doctrines of men" that Jesus warned us about, saying: "In vain they worship me, teaching the doctrines of men." (Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7).
It matters not how well intended the authors of those doctrines were, and it matters not whether they were created in the first or fourth century. Whenever it was, those doctrines are misleading, erroneous, and ultimately divisive and counterproductive because they are ignorant of the full Nature of God.
Obviously, whoever created the misleading and erroneous doctrines apparently thought it would be a good idea to establish the threat of eternal damnation for disobedience to patriarchal religious authority, while promising eternal reward in heaven for obedience to religious clergy and authority. But, the best servants of God have always been loving, forgiving and merciful, knowing they served our loving, forgiving, merciful God. And that is obvious to anyone who truly knows God’s Divine, Universal Love.
Besides that, as Isaiah wrote, "For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that is of a contrite and humbled spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble (and meek), and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)
That speaks of the modern son of man (see Isaiah Chapter 53), and he is the contrite servant of God and tells you that God will forgive all those who acknowledge the error of their ways, repent, and start treating all other human beings as they would want to be treated. For God is firm but merciful and forgiving, and part of the mission of the son of man is to comfort those who are repentant and contrite.
It is time to realize that the sanctimonious idea of a strict and punitive god was originally created to try to scare the enemies of ancient Israel and encourage the Israelites, and the Christians who were responsible for including that idea in the New Testament gospels perpetuated it for the very same reason. However, it can be just as counterproductive as the rigid rules of strict and punitive parents who often produce unruly and rebellious children. And the Great Spirit-Parent, like all loving parents, does not threaten eternal damnation to establish obedience and control.
Granted, it is good to establish well defined guidelines and rules of behavior, especially for children, and it is good to insist that they be followed and firmly enforce corrective consequences when they are not, because children spoiled by permissive, lazy parents will also become unruly.
However, it is counterproductive to threaten unrealistic or unfair or cruel punishment just to try to prevent bad behavior. Scare tactics rarely work for long, because while you can fool some of the people some of the time, you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Furthermore, those threats of hell and eternal damnation really didn’t prevent bad behavior. That is painfully obvious, considering the state of the world today.
There are billions of Christians and Muslims in the world today, and many Jews, and much of the trouble in the world has been caused by those who claim to be Jews or Christians or Muslims. But threats of hell and damnation have not prevented bad behavior by some of those who today proudly claim to be religious.
Many who proudly claim to be Jews or Christians or Muslims disobey the commandments to not kill and not covet what others have. Instead, they fight and kill for power, wealth and domain, and take it away from others.
It’s time for common sense and reason to enter into the arena of religion. At long last we should all learn from the truly wise ones throughout history, from both the spiritual and scientific realms, who have simply been ignored and are still ignored by proud religious hypocrites.
For example, Albert Einstein said: "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in Nature."
Of course, we are rewarded and punished in some ways, since we reap what we sow on this earth, and we experience the consequences for our words and actions and behavior, for better or worse. However, we earn the rewards and we bring the consequences on ourselves, and Einstein was quite correct that it is not God who is responsible for that. (See the page on Wisdom and Judgment, which speaks to that issue.)
Einstein also said: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." And "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom."
God’s witness and true servant and messenger confirms those facts. And even though the messenger must deliver the prophesied judgment to expose and rebuke wrongdoers and hypocrites, the message from God and the Spirit of truth is designed not to condemn, but to educate; not to punish, but to correct; and not to destroy, but to save.
Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah was quite correct when he foresaw that the current son of man will "revive the heart of the contrite ones," because he is "of a contrite and humbled spirit" himself. In other words, rather than be "holier than thou," he is a prodigal son of man who fully acknowledges the error of some of his former ways. And even though he must judge, expose and rebuke divisive and harmful leadership, he is compassionate and understands that God will forgive those who are humbled and contrite of spirit.
"For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that is of a contrite and humbled spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble (and meek), and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always angry. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I angry, and struck him. I hid me, and was angry, and he went on willfully in the ways of his heart. (But) I have seen his ways, and I will lead him..." (Isaiah 57:15-17)
Jesus said: "Not every one that prays to the Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." And he clarified that some of the "goats" and some of the hypocrites would be those who have been praying to the Lord.
So we implore you. Please be "sheep," not "goats." Treat all others as you would want to be treated if you were them.
But, keep in mind that the "goats" are not "evil." Many of them have merely been misguided by false prophets and false shepherds and have not realized their error because they’ve been told they are righteous and holy servants of God or Allah. But they have instead served Mammon and some of them have been self-righteous, arrogantly proud, militant, and even murderous.
Whatever and whoever they are, please keep in mind that the "goat" is a symbol for spirit of the Anti-Christ, which Jesus said is "even now in the world" (see the article on The Fall of Babylon, which discussed the Anti-Christ and the Beast of Babylon).
The symbolic "goat" represents people who are egocentric, self-important, self-righteous, greedy, selfish and judgmental, and especially people who are hateful and violent. We can all be tempted by that spirit, and we are all susceptible to it. Thus we are all capable of committing terrible evils, just as we are all capable of doing great good. It is our choice, and it is made in our own mind, which is why a healthy conscience is so helpful.
Conscience is often ignored by distorted logic when the "moral" patriarch claims that receiving public assistance means that one lacks discipline and self-reliance and is therefore not "moral." That logic gets even more distorted when it assumes that if a person is not prosperous, he is not disciplined enough and not faithful enough to be prosperous and therefore deserves to live in poverty.
Such uncaring logic consequently assumes that social programs and public assistance give people things they haven't earned, thereby lessening people's incentive to be disciplined and "moral." But such logic is not only flawed and uncaring. It ignores the Golden Rule and the advice of Jesus to care for the poor and the least of our brethren. Furthermore, it is simply erroneous and ignorant of the facts regarding poverty and its causes. (See the page on Poverty: America’s Hidden Shame.)
So, again, please abide by the Golden Rule and the Universal Divine Imperative. Be on the correct side with those who are loving, fair, just, generous, caring, charitable, forgiving, tolerant, and peaceful.
Also please forsake or ignore those who are not and refuse to face the truth. Have compassion for them, though, because if they refuse to face the truth they will set themselves up for terrible conflict in their own mind. Their ego and their conscience will increasingly be at war, and while they will rant and rage in a desperate attempt to save face, they will ultimately have to face the truth. So we should only feel sorry for them.
Have faith and courage. We shall overcome.