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The Last Judgment


(1) Matt 25:31-46



(1) Matt 25:31-46

/25:31/ "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. /32/ All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, /33/ and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. /34/ Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; /35/ for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, /36/ I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' /37/ Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? /38/ And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? /39/ And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' /40/ And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' /41/ Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; /42/ for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, /43/ I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' /44/ Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' /45/ Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' /46/ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."





RCL: Year A, Final Sunday of the Year
ECUSA: & RC: Year A, 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time

advanceWord: Proper 29A



Where Love Is, God Is," by Tolstoy (also known as "Martin the Cobbler" in a Claymation video)


Biblical Parallels

Isaiah 58:7

Break your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house.
When you see the naked, clothe him.

Ezekiel 18:7

/18:5/ If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right-- /6/ if he does ... /7/ does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, /8/ does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties, /9/ follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully--such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.

Proverbs 25:21

If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat; and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink;

Tobit 4:16

Give some of your food to the hungry, and some of your clothing to the naked.
Give all of your surplus as alms, and do not let your eyes begrudge your giving of alms.

Testament of Joseph 1

/1:1/ A copy of the testament of Joseph. When he was about to die, he called his sons and his brothers and said to them:
/2/ "My brothers and my children.
Listen to Joseph, the one beloved of Israel.
Give ears to the words of my mouth.
/3/ In my lie I have seen envy and death.
But I have not gone astray: I continued in the truth of the Lord.
These, my brothers, hated me but the Lord loved me.
/4/ They wanted to kill me, but the God of my fathers preserved me.
Into a cistern they lowered me; the Most High raised me up.
/5/ They sold me into slavery; the Lord of all set me free.
I was taken into captivity; the strength of his hand came to my aid.
I was overtaken by hunger; the Lord himself fed me generously.
/6/ I was alone, and God came to help me.
I was in weakness, and the Lord showed his concern for me.
I was in prison, and the Savior acted generously on my behalf.
I was in bonds, and he loosed me;
/7/ falsely accused, and he testified on my behalf.
Assaulted by the bitter word of the Egyptians, and he rescued me.
A slave, and he exalted me. [OTP]

There are several passages in 1 Enoch that express similar ideas:

/38:1/ The first thing:
When the congregation of the righteous shall appear,
sinners shall be judged for their sins,
for they shall be driven from the face of the earth.
/2/ and when the Righteous One shall appear before the face of the righteous,
those elect ones, their deeds are hung upon the Lord of the Spirits
he shall reveal light to the righteous and the elect who dwell upon the earth,
where will the dwelling of sinners be,
and where the resting place of those who denied the name of the Lord of the Spirits?
It would have been better for them not to have been born.
/3/ When the secrets of the Righteous One are revealed,
he shall judge the sinners;
and the wicked ones will be driven from the presence of the righteous and the elect,
/4/ and from that time, those who possess the earth will be neither rulers nor princess,
for they shall not be able to behold the faces of the holy ones,
for the light of the Lord of the Spirits has shined
upon the face of the holy, the righteous, and the elect.
/5/ At that moment, kings and rulers shall perish,
they shall be delivered into the hands of the righteous and holy ones,
/6/ and from henceforth no one shall be able to induce the Lord of the Spirits to show them mercy. [

/61:8/ [The Lord of all Spirits] placed the Elect One on the throne of glory; and he shall judge all the works of the holy ones in heaven above, weighing in the balance their deeds ... [OTP]

/62:1/ Thus the Lord commanded the kings, governors, the high officials, and the landlords and said, "Open your eyes and lift up your eyebrows—if you are able to recognize the Elect One!" ... /3/ On the day of judgment all the kings, governors, the high officials, and the landlords shall see and recognize him—how he sits on his throne of glory, and righteousness is judged before him, and that no nonsensical talk shall be uttered in his presence. [OTP]

/63:11/ After that, their faces will be filled with shame before that Son of Man; and from before his face they shall be driven out. [OTP]


John Dominic Crossan

Item: 425
Stratum: III (80-120 CE)
Attestation: Single
Historicity: -


David Flusser

Somewhat surprisingly, Flusser [Jesus, 259] accepts this passage as coming from Jesus and uses it as evidence for jesus' views on the eschatological figure, the "Son of Man."


Jesus Seminar




JS Mtg





W Avg

Matt 25:31-46

This saying, which has no parallels in the ancient Jesus traditions, was unanimously voted black by the JS Fellows at the 1990 Cincinnati session. It is a story about judgment day rather than a parable.


Samuel T. Lachs

Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament, 393f] notes the confusion in this passage, which begins with a reference to the Son of Man (vs. 31) but later speaks of "the king" (vss. 34,40).

He observes:

All of the deeds mentioned here are acts of kindness (Heb. gemilut hasadim): feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, hospitality, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, burying the dead, and freeing captives. He who performs any one of them is considered praiseworthy, and it is as if he has done them to God himself. "He who receives his fellow man kindly, it is as if he has received the Shekkinah." "He who visits the sick will be saved from Gehinom."


Gerd Luedemann

Luedemann [Jesus, 236f]:

This concluding text of Jesus' eschatological discourse fits Matthaean theology seamlessly. After the paraenesis in 24.32-25.30 the judgment by the Son of Man is depicted in a great painting. The judgment is of all human beings, but Matthew has his community in particular in view: cf. 13.37-43,49-50. In view of this similarity we must seriously consider whether the whole passage should be regarded as a Matthaean construction.


John P. Meier

When commenting on the use of phylake (prison) in Matt 11:2, Meier [Marginal Jew II,198] notes that "the whole passage depicting the last judgment is either a Matthean creation or heavily redacted by Matthew."


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