Don’t Forget the Part About the Sheep & the Goats!

Title pageMany believers are being deceived by the teaching that no one will be left out of salvation in Christ, and the idea that there is no day of future judgment for those who do not obey the Gospel. Through careful research, Jon examines which words of Jesus and Paul in the New Testament are being ignored and denied, and explains how an unhealthy reliance on a 20th Century philosopher and sociologist—Rene Girard—has taken the place of the reliability of the Scriptures.

Read the PDF here: Don’t Forget the Part About the Sheep & the Goats!

Also, Don’t Forget the Part about the Sheep and the Goats! is live in the Kindle Store and is currently enrolled in KDP Select.

It is available for readers to purchase here.



  1. Thanks Jon for writing such an in depth and biblical response to this extremely deceptive and dangerous teaching. Great work! I recommend everyone read it.

  2. Marc Goodman says

    Not surprised that the church is dealing with this philosophy. When one takes Christ out of the scriptures all kinds of teaching rushes into the void to fill its place; and what is more appealing than a “love is all you need” gospel?

  3. My friend Jon’s take represents but one take on the Biblical passages on judgment. I don’t think it is so easy to emphasize some passages, and sweep others under the rug: “Jesus Christ, the Savior of all men, but especially those who believe.” (1 Tim 4:10).
    A healthy view of the body of Christ is one where we grant the Spirit permission (ha) to speak through all our brothers and sisters. Neither Jesus nor his immediate followers prophesied of a book that would govern all life and faith… but Jesus did speak of the Spirit leading us to all… All truth.

    • Thank you, Jim! I wrote this piece, in part, because certain people were emphasizing no passages, sweeping others under the rug, and in the process running roughshod over key words that our Lord has spoken. The truth will flow out of Jesus’ words. That which contradicts His words is false.

  4. Matthew Distefano says

    I find it ironic that you quote a blurb from the back of my book, which spends 3-4 pages exegeting the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, in an article where you ask to not “forget the Sheep and the Goats.” Quite misleading there sir! Perhaps if you actually read the book instead of simply tossing my name into the piece, you would know that. By the way, really poor critique of Girard. There are much better critiques of him, including the very person who edited my book, All Set Free.

    • Hi, Matthew! I had read most of your book, and certainly the section on the Sheep/Goats. I found your comments on Matt 25 to be unconvincing and weak. With the conclusion you bring to the passage, you have to come away with a certain answer. Your understanding of Matt 25 rests on the huge assumption that it is a parable. Once you assign it that genre, then, as you say, you don’t have to take it literally. The scene Jesus describes does not have the marks of a parable. The only figurative parts about it are the two animals representing two groups of people. The rest of the narrative is straightforward — at the end of history Jesus separates the world’s inhabitants into two groups, He reviews how they helped the needy, and then assigns each their destiny, the sheep into the inheritance prepared for them since the creation of the world, and the goats into the judgment prepared for the devil and his angels. All humanity is resurrected to be in front of Jesus — a resurrection of the just (sheep) and the unjust (goats). Whatever else the NT says, it cannot come to a different conclusion than what is revealed in the Lord’s words in Matt 25, and elsewhere.

  5. ‘I loved you at your darkest’ “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

  6. Powerful truth, however, unfortunately traditional church doesn’t communicate it very well. Somehow we need to get beyond church.

  7. This is rediculous, you’re spreading untruths about Renee Girard and people who come after them. The teachings are Christ centered. Don’t hate on things you don’t understand.

  8. The parable of the ‘Sheep and the Goats’ is one of several parables Jesus told in a single setting beginning in Matthew 24:1 and ending in Matthew 26:2. It is obvious that he was warning his immediate audience (which included religious leaders) of a soon-coming judgment that came to pass in A.D. 70 when the Roman Armies invaded the Holy Land and devastated 978 towns including Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, killed one-million Jews including the priesthood and carried captive fifty-thousand Jews as slaves into the provinces of the Roman Empire. These parables had absolutely NOTHING to do with a so-called ‘end times’ judgment. Jesus specifically set the time frame for this impending holocaust, saying, “I tell you the truth, THIS GENERATION will certainly not pass away until ALL these things have happened” (Mt 24:34 NIV). Finally, another thought for your consideration: Before the sacrifice of Christ “for the sin of the world,” the old covenant temple priests sacrificed BOTH sheep and goats to atone for the sins of the people.

    • Ivan, to limit what happens in Matt 25 to the events surrounding 70 AD seems strained. In this future scene, it is the “nations” that are gathered & the sheep and goats are separated by the Lord, not just 1st century Israel. The scope of what Jesus described goes far beyond a narrow focus on Jerusalem. The 70 AD judgment came about because Israel killed the prophets and apostles, and then the Son. There is no mention of these dimensions in Jesus’ words about the sheep & goats.

      • In Matthew 24, Jesus was answering questions posed to him by his disciples about a) the coming destruction of the Temple that he had just prophesied, and b) his second coming and the end of the age. I think to assume that these events all took place at A.D. 70 is a mistake. Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, John, Peter, Paul (and others) all describe “the end of the age” and the return of Jesus using similar language. Many of the events they describe did not happen in A.D. 70.

        Specifically, they talk about “Jesus coming to judge the living and the dead and to reign as king.” They talk about “new heavens and a new earth where righteousness will be at home.” They talk about a feast of celebration, where those “clothed with Christ” will share in his Kingdom of love for eternity.

        I believe that whether or not people are “clothed with Christ” is a decision left to each and every human being on planet earth. It doesn’t seem that this is something God imposes on us; nor is it something he “causes” to happen to everyone. When Jesus longed to call the people of Jerusalem to himself, we’re told they “were not willing.” Sadly in A.D. 70, Jerusalem did experience God’s judgment, and this grieved God’s heart. It seems that this example of people rejecting the Savior and experiencing God’s judgment will one day be fulfilled on a greater scale. As Peter tells us,

        “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” (2 Peter 3:2-10)

  9. Jon sent me this article last week and I emailed him back the next day to plead with him to rewrite the last portion of it where he teaches that to perish is to simply cease to exist!!! It is a good article as far as alerting folks to universalism. but it’s dismissal of eternal judgment, eternal punishment and stating that “perishing” is simply ceasing to exist are plain anti scriptural teachings! If one ceases to exist when they physically die, how can they be resurrected? To perish is NOT to lose one’s being but rather to lose their well-being! Eternal punishment lasts as long as the eternal God and eternal life! Different words are NOT used of the two! I am amazed and saddened to think that both Jon and MIlt Rodrguez and many others have been willing to embrace this heresy!
    The hope of every atheist is exactly what Jon is teaching! …i.e. that they will simply “cease to exist”! How we need to return to scripture and test every doctrine (regardless of who presents it) by the test of what saith the scripture? The doctrine of perishing being cessation of existence is clearly identified as a fable . . . .

    Brothers and sisters in Christ…BEWARE!
    Bruce Woodford, Norwich, Ontario

    • Thanks, Bruce. You say, “If one ceases to exist when they physically die, how can they be resurrected?” The state after death is designated as “sleep.” Those who do not obey the Gospel will cease to exist after they are resurrected and Christ deals with them as described in Matt 25 & 2 Thess 1.

      • But Jon, you say that to perish is to cease to exist. The 18 on whom the tower of Siloam fell perished! The Lord Jesus said to the people of that day about those 18…”except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Those men perished when the tower fell on them. Thus your theory that to perish is to cease to exist is a falsehood contrary to scripture!
        BTW, “sleep” is only used of the death of believers! And only refers to the body! To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Not sleeping in the presence of the Lord! In the Lord Jesus’ account in Luke 16 neither Lazarus nor the rich man were sleeping but consciously experiencing comfort or torment!
        Your theory does not at all explain what happens to the wicked for over a thousand years until the great white throne judgement finally takes place and death and hell are cast into the lake of fire along with those whose names were not written in the Book of Life!
        Also why did you choose to delete from my post above the scriptural marks of fables of men by which your teaching is proven to be false doctrine?

        • Yeah, Bruce, the lives of the people on whom the tower fell did cease to exist. My main point is that “perish” cannot mesh with the idea of “forevr & ever.” Just as those in the Flood did not drown forever. Their lives perished.

          If you check out E.W. Bullinger’s writing on Luke 16, you’ll see there is much more to consider when interpreting this passage.

          Your particular understanding of the 1000 years is a Pandora’s Box all of its own!

          I edited out your F-A-B-L-E-S part because it did not seem to add to the points you had made, plus you seem to add these words to the end of other posts you do. In any event, here it is:

          As a brother in Christ I would plead with you to rewrite your pages 7-10 and remove this gross error (“to perish means to cease to exist”) which is marked by all 6 scriptural marks of fables….

          F-It is a fair speech never taught by the Lord Jesus or his apostles which will deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17,18

          A-It is a doctrine which cannot be stated in the pure words of the Lord but must be stated using additional words to His. Proverbs 30:5,6

          B- It will never be embraced by Bereans and those who follow their example described in Acts 17:11.

          L-It is a lie designed to toss children to and fro with winds of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive. Ephesians 4:14

          E- It was never taught by eye-witnesses of the Lord’s majesty but is rather a cunningly devised fable which they rejected! II Peter 1:16

          S – It can only be stated in words which man’s wisdom teaches. (I Cor.2:13) it cannot be stated in the pure words of the Lord (Psalm 12:6), and cannot be stated in words which the Holy Spirit teaches comparing spiritual things with spiritual! (I Cor.2:13)

          I am praying for you, brother, that the Lord will give you wisdom and grace to reject and repudiate the error which mars your otherwise excellent refutation of universalism. — Bruce W.

  10. Hi Jon, Thanks for mentioning Bullinger’s article on Luke 16. It is a very compelling article which I’m sure has deceived many. Most will read it and think, “Who am I to challenge such a knowledgeable man? What he says MUST be true!”

    Bullinger counted on the fact that the vast majority of his readers would not “follow his tracks” as good Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

    But those who do so by actually looking up and reading every reference he cites, checking the meaning and usage of key words to which he refers, comparing his comments to other scriptures, taking careful note of scriptures which he steadfastly avoids (and even those which he denies even exist!) will eventually realize that Bullinger was not an honest student of scripture willing to be changed by what scripture says. Rather, in this article, he came to scripture with an agenda to prove and was determined to use scripture dishonestly to make his point.

    I hope that any who were “convinced” by their reading of his article will do so again and carefully search the scriptures in the process and judge Bullinger’s writing by scripture and not the other way around! I’d be happy to share comments on that article with any who would be willing to investigate.

  11. Carla Pustina says

    Revelation 20:14 (The lake of fire is the second death.)

  12. Lifewithporpoise says

    Perish in my mind means perish.

    For someone to read the words consume, perish and destroy and come up with burning in a torture pit forever and ever…

    The mind boggles.

    Ahh, yes, Lazarus and the rich man. The parable! “It’s not a parable it’s true!!” Really? So we go to Abraham’s bosom when we die!?

    We communicate to people in hell fire from heaven? We only need one drop of water to cool the torture from God’s eternal flames?

    Ok. If your idea of heaven is Abe’s boob. Thumbs up.

    Great website!

  13. Regarding the afterlife there is a lot of language available to us in the biblical manuscripts: hades, tartarus, sheol, gehenna, Abraham’s bosom, paradise, heaven, the lake of fire, the second death, new heavens & a new earth, the New Jerusalem etc.. Some of these terms are used interchangeably; some are not. I believe it is possible to understand what all of these words and concepts meant to Jesus’ first century audience. It does require some study though. Worthwhile for anyone really interested. Theologically, it’s been my impression that the church has oversimplified things to a large extent–oversimplified and overgeneralized. I don’t think that’s been very helpful. It’s also not helpful, however, to throw out biblical notions of judgment altogether because of theological misperceptions or misuse. Jesus believed in “hades” and “ge’enna.” He also believed in paradise. Jesus and the disciples prophesied the end of the current age, and the coming of “a new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home.” Understood in their original context, I think all of these concepts communicate a message that God is love, God is merciful, and at the same time God will not allow evil to continue indefinitely. I think that’s “good news.”

  14. The audio book version of Don’t Forget is now available on Audible. Dorothy Deavers does an exceptional job rendering this work and making it powerful and dramatic.

  15. Marta Pegan says

    Hate filled people debating the fate of “sinners” what a waste of time. We willall know the answers when we get to our destination. Bit more focus on where you are destined less on where others are going.. God is not a busybody…but this gang is. …

  16. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
    Same Greek word for eternal-aiónios, What you do with one, do with the other. Also, see 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Even Daniel 12:2 teaches the same- olam-
    “everlasting” life contrasted with everlasting contempt/shame.

    • There are other perspectives to consider. The word “perish” is used many times for the end of those outside of Christ. To connect this concept with “non-ending” is very incongruous. Oscar Cullmann’s “Resurrection of the Dead or Immortality of the Soul?” is a great short book on these matters. It is free on-line. Also, my book, “Christ Minimized? A Response to Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins'” deals with some fundamental points in this regard.

Speak Your Mind