Matthew 25:31-46

Matthew 25:31-46
Reign of Christ A52


31 “When the Son of ManA comes in his glory,B and all the angelsC with him, then he will sit on the throneD of his glory. 

Notes on verse 31

A “Man” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
B “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
C “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
D “throne” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes form.

32 All the nationsE will be gatheredF before him, and he will separateG people one from another as a shepherdH separates the sheepI from the goats,J 

Notes on verse 32

E “nations” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
F “gathered” = sunago. Related to “angels” in v31. From sun (with, together with) + ago (see note C above). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
G “separate” = aphorizo. 10x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + horizo (to determine, set boundaries, appoint, designate, pre-determined; literally, this is setting horizons); {from the same as horion (boundary, territory); from horos (limit, boundary)}. This is to set off by a boundary – to divide, separate, exclude. It can also mean ostracize or keep aloof.
H “shepherd” = poimen. 18x in NT. This is shepherd or pastor – one who protects. It is also used figuratively to mean ruler. 
I “sheep” = probaton. Probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (a step, pace, foot); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.
J “goats” = eriphos. 2x in NT – here and in Luke 15:29 as the goat that the elder son wants for a party in the parable of the prodigal son. Perhaps from the same as erion (wool); from eiros (wool). This comes from the root in the sense of hairiness – a kid or male goat.

33 and he will putK the sheep at his right handL and the goatsM at the left.N 

Notes on verse 33

K {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
L “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
M “goats” = eriphion. Related to “goats” in v32. 1x in NT. From eriphos (see note J above). This is little goat young goat.
N “left” = euonumos. 9x in NT. From eu (good, well rightly) + onoma (name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation; thought to include something of the essence of the person and not separate from the person); {may be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience)}. This is literally well-named or of a good name. It refers to the left or left side.

34 Then the kingO will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come,P you that are blessedQ by my Father,

Notes on verse 34a

O “king” = basileus. Perhaps related to “sheep” in v32. Probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (see note I above). This is king, emperor, sovereign.
P “come” = deute. 12x in NT. From deuro (come here, hither, hence, now, until now). This is come, follow – as an exclamatory mood.
Q “blessed” = eulogeo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. Properly, this is speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited. It can mean praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing. This is where “eulogy” comes from.

inheritR the kingdomS preparedT for you from the foundationU of the world;V 

Notes on verse 34b

R “inherit” = kleronomeo. 18x in NT. From kleronomos (heir); {from kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is to acquire or get by inheriting.
S “kingdom” = basileia. Perhaps related to “sheep” in v32 & related to “king” in v34. From basileus (see note O above). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.
T “prepared” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
U “foundation” = katabole. 11x in NT. From kataballo (to cast down, lay prostate, set a foundation); {from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a foundation or a plan for one – setting the foundation according to the plans. Figuratively, it can be the beginning of something, sowing, or conception.
V “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

35 for I was hungryW and you gave me food, I was thirstyX and you gave me something to drink,Y I was a strangerZ and you welcomedAA me, 

Notes on verse 35

W “was hungry” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.
X “was thirsty” = dipsao. 16x in NT. From dipsa (thirst); from dipsos (thirst). This is thirst in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean keenly desire.
Y “gave…something to drink” = potizo. 15x in NT. From potos (drink or for drinking) OR from pino (to drink literally or figuratively). This is to give to drink, water, furnish, irrigate, or feed.
Z “stranger” = xenos. 14x in NT – including 5x in Matthew 25 of the judgment of the nations “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” This is foreign or foreigner, an alien or guest. It could also be something new, novel, or strange. This is where the word “xenophobia” comes from.
AA “welcomed” = sunago. Same as “gathered” in v32. See note F above.

36 I was nakedBB and you gave me clothing,CC I was sickDD and you took care ofEE me, I was in prisonFF and you visited me.’ 

Notes on verse 36

BB “naked” = gumnos. 15x in NT. This is naked. Generally, it refers to someone who is not completely clothed i.e. only wearing the undergarment and not the complete attire for going out. Rarely, it can mean completely naked. It can be naked in a literal or figurative sense – open, bare, ill-clad. This is where “gymnasium” comes from.
CC “gave…clothing” = periballo. Related to “foundation” in v34. From peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop). This is to thrown around, clothe, array, put on.
DD “was sick” = astheneo. From asthenes (not having strength or weak in a moral sense; sick); {from a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.
EE “took care of” = episkeptomai. 11x in NT. From epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + the base of skopos (a mark or goal like the marker at the end of a race; figuratively, other goals or destinations; also, a watch or sentry); {from skeptomai (to peer out, consider, gaze carefully); perhaps related to skapto (to dig or excavate)}. This is to look at, look out for, see, select, visit.
FF “prison” = phulake. From phulasso (to guard something so that it doesn’t escape – to watch over it vigilantly; being on guard in a literal or figurative sense); related to phulaks (military guard, sentry, watcher). This is the act of guarding, the person who guards, the place where guarding occurs (i.e. a prison), or the times of guarding (the various watches).

37 Then the righteousGG will answer him, ‘Lord,HH when was it that we sawII you hungry and gave you food,JJ 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?’ 

Notes on verses 37-39

GG “righteous” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
HH “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
II “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
JJ “gave…food” = trepho. 9x in NT. Perhaps from trope (turning, shifting, a revolution; figuratively, a variation). This is to bring up, rear, nourish, fatten, nurse. Properly, it is to enlarge through proper nourishment.

40 And the king will answer them, ‘TrulyKK I tell you, just as you didLL it to one of the leastMM of these who are members of my family,NN you did it to me.’ 

Notes on verse 40

KK “truly” = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
LL “did” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
MM “least” = elachistos. 13x in NT. From elachus (short); used as a superlative for mikros (small). This is smallest or littlest in the sense of size, amount, rank, dignity, and so on.
NN “members of…family” = adelphos.  From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.

41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed,OO departPP from me into the eternalQQ fire prepared for the devilRR 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, sickSS and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 

Notes on verses 41-43

OO “are accursed” = kataraomai. 6x in NT. From katara (curse, accursed; a curse as penalty); {from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + ara (prayer, curse, imprecation; a pray for evil); {probably from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}}. This is to curse, execrate, doom.
PP “depart” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
QQ “eternal” = aionios. From aion (an age, length of time). This is age-long, forever, everlasting. Properly, that which lasts for an age. This is where eon comes from.
RR “devil” = diabolos. Related to “foundation” in v34 & “gave…clothing” in v36. From diaballo (laying a charge against someone, generally with hostility; literally, to thrust through or cast back and forth– used for slandering, accusing, or gossiping; whether or not the sentiment is true, it is spread with negative intention); {from dia (through, across, because of, thoroughly) + ballo (see note U above)}. This is a properly a slanderer or someone who accuses falsely – criticizing unfairly with the intent to cause harm or damage character. This can also mean backbiter or malicious gossip. Also, the Slanderer, the Devil.
SS “sick” = asthenes. Related to “was sick” in v36. See note DD above.

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 ofTT 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,UU but the righteous into eternal life.”VV

Notes on verses 44-46

TT “take care of” = diakoneo. From diakonos (servant, minister, waiter, or attendant; a person who performs a service, including religious service); {perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute); {related to dio (put to flight)}}. This is to wait at table, to serve generally, to minister or administer, to be in the office of deacon. To wait on someone as a slave, friend, or host.
UU “punishment” = kolasis. 2x in NT. From kolazo (to punish, particularly to punish slaves so that they are restricted or chastised); from kolos (docked, dwarf). This is punishment, correction, torment. It may include a sense of deprivation – a punishment that corresponds individually.
VV “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

Image credit: “Last Judgment” by Fra Angelico, 1450.

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