On the Last Judgment


Matthew 25:31–46

Last Sunday, in the parable of the prodigal son, the Lord spoke to us about His unmatched love towards us. Today He speaks of the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. The Second Coming, says the Lord, will be preceded by the “wicked audacity” of antichrist—fierce persecution against the faith. And if the Lord would not shorten the time, no flesh would be saved (Matt. 24).

The Gospel calls to purity and a pious life us who await the “day of the Lord”. And we repeat after the apostle Paul, For our conversation [in Church Slavonic, dwelling] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phillip. 3:20), through deeds of goodness, philanthrophy, love, mercy, and compassion, crowned with humility—we go to Christ and are established in Him.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always (Lk. 21:36), says the Lord, for in His Second Coming, then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn (Matt. 24:30). The tribes of the earth are those who are completely bound to the earth, who persist in their unbelief and carelessness for their souls, in their total commitment to the earthly. Tribulation and anguish, will come upon every soul of man that doeth evil (Rom. 2:69). Those who live in Christ will be filled with joy, but those who live for the flesh will be filled with shame, sorrow, and despair.

The Creator gave man everything for his growth in goodness. But when He sees evil again taking first place due to man’s free will, when He sees that people have abandoned Christ the Son of God, and have bowed down before and submitted to the antichrist, He will again come down to earth, but this time not as one Who is longsuffering, in humiliation, but as the Judge, separating the incurable from the healthy. He will descend in great glory—He shall sit on the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28).

This was also revealed to the prophet Daniel, who wrote: I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit… and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:9, 13–14). In accordance with this prophecy of Daniel, the Gospel also says, And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats (Matt. 25). The Lord calls the righteous sheep; they are quiet and meek, and walk the path in their life that Christ has shown. He calls sinners goats; they are impertinent, unmerciful, and dissolute. They live in worship to idols, and their idols are “nature” and carnal mindedness.

Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, the impartial Judge will say to those standing at His right. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. In these words, the original thought and aim of the Creator at the creation of the world are expressed. The Creator gave man everything needed for the achievement of this aim: the Word become flesh, His sufferings, and the purifying and healing Sacraments. Come and inherit the kingdom… Enter into the joy of your Lord, for as God’s children, you have lived according to the Gospel; you have correctly used the earthly, corruptible, and transient world.

In what was expressed the righteous’ correct use of earthly blessings, their likeness to Christ? In deeds of mercy and humility. I was an hungred, and ye gave Me to eat… naked, and ye clothed Me… “Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and gave Thee to eat, or saw Thee a naked wanderer… and served Thee?” the righteous will ask Him. Their humility can be seen in this question. And humility is the expression of love for God and man.

There was none of that amongst those standing on the left side of the Righteous Judge, Who calls them goats. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy (Jas. 2:13), says the Apostle. Therefore, the Lord also says, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Let us pay attention to the Savior’s words: prepared not for you, not for man… But rather you people, through your own free will have bound your hearts and will to the devil; your hardness and enmity, uncompassionate hearts and miserly manners reveal the fullness of sin in you; you have placed your own selves outside of God.

Thus, my dear brothers and sisters, love and philanthropy, mercy and compassion, will reveal to us at the end of our earthly sojourn the things which God hath prepared for them that love him… Which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man (1 Cor. 2:9).

The Gospel of the Last Judgment calls us to follow Christ. In following Christ, and becoming like Christ, man’s dignity and grandeur unfolds. Amen.

Bishop Mitrophan (Znosko-Borovsky)
Translation by OrthoChristian.com



See also
Oscar3/11/2024 9:27 pm
Glory be to God!
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