The great Arbiter of life and death!

(William Nicholson, "The Separation of the Righteous from the Wicked!" 1862)

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left!" Matthew 25:31-33

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There are three important days in the existence of a man:
the day of his birth,
   the day of his death, and
   the day when he shall be judged.

At the day of his birth he commences an immortal existence; he enters on a career which will be lengthened out through an endless eternity.

At the day of his death — his seed-time, his probation, and all his works shall end. His body shall return to the dust, and his soul pass into the world of spirits.

At the day of judgment, all his thoughts, motives, and actions, will be scrutinized by the great Arbiter of life and death, and the character of them will decide his everlasting destiny. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad!" 2 Corinthians 5:10

I. The Great and Solemn Convention. "All the nations will be gathered before Him!"

1. The time when this convention shall take place: "When the Son of man shall come in His glory."

2. The grand appearance of the Judge: "He shall come in His glory."

3. This appearance will be judicial. "Then He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory." The nations of the earth shall be gathered before Him, at His bar. It will be a judicial throne.

4. The Assembly. "All the nations will be gathered before Him!" What a vast assembly! Yes, "all nations," all the inhabitants of the world, from Adam to his last-born son, shall be gathered before the throne!

II. The Momentous Separation and Its Consequences. "And He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left!"

1. He will separate them into two classes:
  the righteous — and the wicked,
  saved saints — and lost sinners,
  the pure grain — and the chaff,
  the wheat — and the tares,
  the sheep — and the goats.

2. This separation will be exact. Though the multitude will be so vast — yet the character of each will be detected with the greatest precision. Every thought, desire, motive, and action will be known to the infallible Judge! 

3. This separation will be complete and just. There will be no partiality. He will make the separation in righteousness, according to His perfect law of equity. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows — that shall he reap!"

The judgment will be so complete, that all will acknowledge the justice displayed in the separation.

4. This separation will be to many most surprising, degrading, and mortifying! Then the proud and wealthy — will be humbled and brought down! Men of talent and genius, "wise men after the flesh," who received the applause of the multitude — will descend from their pinnacle of glory, to contempt and infamy — and see the poor despised Christian infinitely exalted above them!

What mortification will the miser feel when he finds his gold so worthless!

What will the worldly objects and pursuits of HTML clipboardthe ambitious appear then!

How will the votary of of this world, and the lover of pleasure, find themselves undeceived then!

How will those who have rejected Christ, or denied God's existence, open their eyes in astonishment! What surprise when they gaze on Him, and hear Him say, "But those enemies of Mine who did not want Me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of Me!" Luke 19:27

Then there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth," such as the world never saw, when the rich, the splendid, the refined, and the noble — behold the Christian pauper, beggar, and slave, ready to "sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — and they themselves thrust out!"

5. This separation will, in many cases, be awfully affecting. What a distinction will then be made in families! Some parents themselves will be left behind, and with failing eyes, and bursting hearts, will follow their children rising to the heavens, and bidding them an everlasting farewell.

6. This separation will be eternal. They shall be divided — and never come together again. There will be no return from perdition; none from paradise, to any common center where parted friends may be reunited. This separation is not for one, two, or more years, but forever! There will be an impassable gulf fixed! Luke 16:26.

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment — but the righteous to eternal life!" Matthew 25:46 

"That word 'forever' breaks the heart!" Thomas Watson