The Scariest Parable in the Bible

Published: April 1, 2024 | Maoz Israel Reports

Matthew 25: 31-46

Of all the parables Yeshua told while on earth, I find the parable of the sheep and goats most unsettling and here’s why. Yeshua describes the day where we all stand before the Lord and final rulings are made about where we spend eternity. 

First, while Yeshua shares many allegorical parables, this one appears to be entirely literal. The only figurative part of the parable is the concept of separating people into two groups described as sheep and goats.

In the parable, Yeshua explains that the way the nations treated Him when He was in need is a deciding factor in whether He considers them His own, or groups them with “the devil and his angels.” At first it seems straight forward. We know if we walk in the ways of God in relationship with Him we are promised eternal life with Him and if we live wickedly, we will be separated from Him.

The scariest part of this parable is the response of both the sheep and the goats when they are told where they are going and why. When Yeshua explains what actions in their life mattered to Him, both groups are equally confused about when they did or didn’t do what Yeshua is talking about. Yeshua then replies—“When you did/didn’t do it to these, the least of my brothers and sisters, you did/didn’t do it to Me.” 

The parable seems so plain it is difficult to accept. Which is probably why for centuries Christianity that had turned against the Jewish people interpreted it to simply mean helping “anyone in need.”  With the loss of the Church’s connection to the historical roots of their Savior, the interpretation prevails even today. After all, surely, something as simple as how one treats Jews can’t have a bearing on whether they make it into heaven or not. But Yeshua did not say, “the least of humanity.” Rather, speaking to the nations of the world in the parable, Yeshua specified, “the least of my brethren”—the least of His people. 

So the million dollar  question is then, “Is Yeshua saying that —how the nations treat Israel—will be an important aspect on where they spend eternity?” Do we really want to risk being wrong about this? After all, there are numerous sections in scripture that express this same message. Verses like Genesis 12:3 and Zechariah 2:8 echo how important the treatment of Israel is to God and the severe punishment that will come to those who do evil to Israel. 

How protective God is of His people Israel should actually give everyone joy that He will stand up for all those who are His own. Whatever the case, the conclusion is undeniable. There is something nonnegotiable in this parable for God, and He was clear that ignorance is no defense.