The judgment in this parable is for the nations, not individuals …


Some interpretations of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 31-46) are downright terrifying. It seems to condemn the “goats” – “accursed” nations – to eternal damnation. Terrible fear-based religious violence and persecution has come from the idea of eternal hell. So where’s the “good news?”

Translations and context make all the difference. The judgment in this parable is for the nations, not individuals, although individuals do shape the character of the nations in which they live. And the word translated as “eternal” is better translated as a “time” or “age.”

You can reconcile faith in universal reconciliation with this parable, while still holding onto the infinite urgency and dire warning within it. Ultimately, the way we collectively and individually treat the most vulnerable will have lasting consequences. Adam and Lindsey explore further.

The Olive

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