Sheep and Goats

All religions have taught the ultimate separation between good and evil, although it has been generally believed that they coexist up to a certain time. In the allegory in the third chapter of Genesis, the tempter argued that if the man and woman would disobey the divine command they would become godlike in "knowing good and evil." This was, of course, an audacious lie, for God had already declared the male and female of His creating to be good and good only, being the veritable likeness of the perfect creator. The falsity was, however, accepted by Adam and Eve, and on it have been based all human theories, religious and otherwise.

From this point in human experience it is a long cry to the teachings and demonstrations of Christ Jesus, but these lead us unmistakably to his description of what has been called the last judgment, as given in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew. Here we have presented to us the glorified and enthroned Son of man surrounded by "all the holy angels," and before him are gathered all nations. At this point it may be well to recall our Leader's definition of angels, as given on page 581 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," namely, "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality." With this in view we shall be better prepared to understand the parable of the last judgment, where we are told that the sheep are set on the right hand and the goats on the left. To the student of Christian Science it is peculiarly interesting in its relation to the present time, for it may truly be said that all nations are arraigned before the throne of divine Principle to receive the sentence of Truth, and there is nothing uncertain in the decision given by the glorified Son of man, who undoubtedly represents the ever present Christ. The righteous, typified by the sheep, are bidden to enter into the kingdom prepared by the Father "from the foundation of the world." On the other hand we read that the evildoers are bidden to depart into everlasting fire.

At this point we may be led to think that certain nations are to be looked upon as the sheep and others as the goats, but our interpretation of the passage must be lifted above the plane of personal sense up to that of spiritual understanding. There can be no question that in every nation a complete separation will be made between "the sheep" and "the goats," and it is noteworthy that the final decisions of Truth are not to come from either the sheep or the goats but from God and His Christ. This does not mean that there is to be a wiping out of the distinctions between right and wrong, for as we read in the book of Proverbs, "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord."

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Among the Churches
February 1, 1919

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