They will become one flock, one shepherd.
Jesus’ illustration of the sheep and the goats teaches us that those with the earthly hope have the honor of loyally supporting Jesus’ anointed brothers in the preaching and teaching work. During these critical last days, the two groups work together as “one flock” in zealously carrying out the work of making disciples. The Master rightly expects results. His faithful disciples in the first century certainly increased his belongings. What about in this time of the end? Jesus’ faithful, hardworking servants have carried out the greatest preaching and disciple-making work in history. Their collective effort has resulted in hundreds of thousands of new disciples being added to the ranks of Kingdom proclaimers each year, making the preaching and teaching work an outstanding feature of the sign of Jesus’ presence in Kingdom power. Surely their Master must be pleased!
Like everything the Watchtower teaches, there is the fundamental truth and the element of error mixed together. On the one hand the Watchtower’s explanation of the distinction between the brothers of Christ and the sheep and goats is very insightful. On the other hand, the ever-present error is that we are living during the time of the end and the last days.
For many decades the Watchtower taught that the sheep and goats were being separated as a result of Christ having sat down upon his throne. After all, Jesus’ specifically stated that the sheep and goats are judged when the Son of man arrives in glory and sits down upon his throne. And, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ sat down upon his throne in 1914.
But here’s the problem —generations have come and gone since 1914 and in spite of wars and disease the population of the world has increased eight fold over the past century. Since, as we know, God’s loving purpose is to resurrect both the righteous and the unrighteous, why would Jesus sit in judgment of nations that were going to receive a resurrection? It doesn’t make any sense in view of the fact that the goats are shepherded into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. In other words, the goats are sentenced to the second death —permanent death with no resurrection. Clearly, the separation of the sheep and the goats does not take place over the span of decades, but rather, it occurs as an immediate prelude to the end of the world.
In 1995 the Watchtower came to this realization. They published a two-part series of articles in the October 15 issue expounding upon their adjusted view. Now Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the sheep and the goats are separated in the future, which is surely the correct view. However, in order to retain their 1914 date as the time when the Kingdom came to power the Governing Body were compelled to put forward the untenable notion that Jesus sits down on his glorious throne on a couple of occasions.
What is noteworthy, is that, in his lengthy discussion of the events that will occur during the conclusion of the system of things the only reference Jesus made to his sitting down upon his throne is in connection with the judgment of the sheep and the goats. That should not be considered an insignificant detail. Here is what Jesus actually said: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.”
Since Bethel’s readjusted understanding 20+ years ago, Jehovah’s Witnesses are now required to believe that Jesus comes and sits down on his glorious throne on multiple occasions . He came in 1914 and sat down on his kingly throne, but he is coming again, the next time with all the angels with him to judge the nations.
The Watchtower claims that 1914 is the most important date in all human history. Amazingly, this means that the future coming of Christ in glory, with all his angels, his future enthronement and judgment of all the nations, is of lesser significance than 1914!
What the Watchtower teaches defies all sound reasoning and logic. Only the Devil could make such a fantastic tale seem like God’s sacred truth.
But Christ did not begin ruling in 1914. Even according to the Watchtower now, the Son of man has not come, nor has he sat down upon his glorious throne. The truth is, we are not ‘deep into the time of the end,’ as Jehovah’s Witnesses have been saying for the past half century. The time of the end has not even begun. When it begins, though, it will be unmistakable. Nation will rise against nation. There will be food shortages and deadly outbreaks of disease. Great earthquakes will occur. People will be terrified of all the things coming upon the world. And no, you won’t have to read about it in a Watchtower. You will see it. You will experience it. You may be assured that it will not be business as usual for the people of this planet when the Kingdom comes.
There is a reason God has allowed this lie to persist for so long. It is the delusion that emanates from a man of lawlessness for the purpose of imposing a test of faith upon us when Christ comes in his glory.
Then the brothers of Christ really will be in dire straits. Some will be homeless and hungry, naked and in prison. The treatment meted out to Jesus’ brothers then will be the basis for the judgment Christ will then impose upon the sheep and the goats.