letters to surfers
Question :How can you assume that the parable of the sheep and the goats
refers to nations, not individuals?
by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca)
I agree there is a shift in the parable of the sheep and
goats from the neuter nations to the masculine plural that refers to people
in those nations. There is a similar shift from the woes on
the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida (Matthew 11:21) to the people
in them who did not repent. Then Jesus refers to Capernaum that is going
to be cast down into Hades (Matthew 11:23). And in fact
all three of these cities on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee were
razed to the ground by the advancing Romans two years before the final
attack on the city in AD 70. There is a similar shift from Sodom
to the people of that city. And we make a similar shift in the language
game for America as a nation, and talk about Americans doing this or that.
Matthew has a huge amount (including several parables) about the inevitable
judgment on the city of Jerusalem. Not allindividuals were involved
in that responsibility, and many repented of their wrong attitudes (e.g.
many Pharisees, and many temple priests, Acts 6:7), but the Jewish
nation as a nation was certainly facing a coming of the Lord in judgment
(Matthew 24:27, 30, 34) in that generation.
Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans about twelve years before the terrible
events of AD 68-70, and in several espistles he refers to the imminent
parousia that Jesus had predicted. As he comes to terms with this,
he keeps shifting from the judgment on the Jewish nation to the lack of
faith of the individuals in it is (see Romans 8-11).
model theology home
| essays and articles
| books | sermons
| letters to surfers |