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And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

25:40 my brethren. Christ’s criterion for recognizing “sheep” (the saved—Matthew 25:32) among the living Gentiles at His throne of glory is their treatment of “my brethren” during the terrible tribulation period. The brethren would certainly include the Jews, who were being sought for extermination during this period, the most severe time of persecution ever experienced by the chosen people (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 12:5-6, 13-16). However, Jesus also indicated that His brethren encompassed all who “do the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 12:50). The Gentiles who are saved during the tribulation period also will have been marked for execution by the Antichrist. Thus all who try to befriend and care for these refugees during these seven frightful years will be recognized as “sheep” and allowed to continue their natural physical lives into the millennial kingdom. Those who had not done this, turning the refugees away, and perhaps even reporting them to the authorities, will be sent “away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46). The “sheep” Gentiles would, by their actions, also have been branded as traitors by the authorities and sought for execution. Even though it is not specifically stated, it is implied that these “sheep” Gentiles are at least willing to believe on Christ themselves and have not received the mark of the beast.

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