He will separate them “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Mt 25:32, 33)
In the Book of Matthew 25 you read the Parable of the sheep and the goats. The sheep represent the true born again believers and the goats are symbols of religious unbelievers. Our Lord says that when He will come back, He will judge men according to the way they behaved towards Him. The sheep were kind and generous but the goats are selfish and proud. Salvation is not by works but by grace. These works are the fruits of their hearts. The true believers symbolized by the sheep are blessed; they shall be rewarded and will go to heaven. The religious unbelievers are cursed and shall go to hell.
The following are some facts about sheep and goats:
The sheep and the goats resemble in many ways but each is a distinct specie (the sheep have 54 chromosomes and the goats have 60). They rarely mate with one another and their hybrids are barren. When they are young, it is hard to differentiate the sheep and the goats. With time, the difference becomes clearer. The goat’s tails are up and the sheep’s tails are down. (Spiritually it speaks of the sexual lust and pride of the unbelievers and the humility of the believers). The goats are very intelligent but the sheep are foolish. A goat can survive without human help but a sheep will die without a shepherd. The goats are very agile and walk long distances to find food. They are natural browsers and can eat anything. They stand on their hind legs to eat the top of the branches. But the sheep are grazers, always satisfied with the same grass; they never stand on their hind legs.
Goats are naturally curious and independent, while sheep tend to be more distant and aloof. Goats like to stay in a family but do not like to live as a flock. Sheep have strong flocking instinct and become very agitated if they are separated from the rest of the flock. It is easier to keep sheep inside a fence than goats. Most goats have hair coats that do not require shearing or combing. The sheep grow woolly coats that need to be sheared at least annually. Male goats have glands beneath their tail. They develop a strong odor as they grow in sexual maturity and especially during the mating season. Sheep have face or tear glands beneath their eyes. Sometimes sheep look like they weep. The goats never ‘weep’.
A male sheep is called a ram. A male goat is called a buck. As a general rule, goats are bolder and typically more aggressive than sheep. The goat is a ‘trouble-maker’ and much more persistent than the ram. The ram fights only to protect his flock. The ram is heavier than the buck. In a fight, a ram will back up and charge to butt heads. A goat will rear up on his hind legs and come down forcibly to butt heads. During such a confrontation, such fighting behavior favors the ram.
What are the spiritual lessons? The danger is that the sheep will become deceived by the goat. In other words, the believer may be deceived by the religious unbeliever. You need to pray to receive the gift of discernment of spirits. Do not look at the surface of things. Do not look at the gifts of men, the beauty of women, the strength of their voices or their business in the church. Look for the fruits of the Holy Spirit! The first slice of that fruit is love and the last slice is self-control (Gal 5: 22, 23). A true believer loves and in case of temptation to sin, he controls himself. The true believer is humble, kind, generous, patient, wise and loving. He keeps close to the Shepherd who is the Lord Jesus Christ. The unbeliever is basically wicked, manipulative, seducing, lustful, covetous, wild, wasteful and undisciplined.
Finally, this is the most important question: Are you a sheep or a goat? Are you born again or not?
(In the first picture you see humble sheep staying together, listening to the voice of their shepherd. In the second picture you see an independent beautiful goat with its horns like an expansive hairdo. But do not be deceived… as beautiful as you see it, she is still a goat!!!)