“When the son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels ...” (Matthew 25:31-46)

“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. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Jesus 'comes'?

The key to Jesus' statement is the word "comes," which is derived from the Greek word ἔρχομαι (erchomai), which can mean, when used in the physical sense, "to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning," according to the lexicon.

But when used in the context of Jesus's previous statements and analogies - the events immediately following the moment of death, the lexicon describes the word to mean, "to appear, make one's appearance," as well as "to arise."

Furthermore, when used metaphorically - as Jesus was - the word actually means, "to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence" and "be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto."

This, with the rest of Jesus' statement, indicates that Jesus is speaking of presence. Being there. Whether he is referring to his being there for his followers as they deal with the challenges of their physical lives, or accompanies them in the spiritual realm. He is speaking of his being there for his followers, at any time.

After all, if a person were "coming," they would not be sitting on a throne, because thrones are not considered moving vehicles. Rather, Jesus is describing his presence in the spiritual realm - and in our hearts as we follow his teachings.

Son of man in the third person?

Another important component is the fact that Jesus is speaking of "Son of Man" in the third person. He is not saying "I" or "me" here. Why not?

This indicates that Jesus was not speaking exclusively of himself. He is referring to himself within a role - a role that others have had.

This might be compared to how someone might refer to a military rank. For example, a lieutenant and they say, "when the lieutenant is present, lower ranks must salute. He may be saying this referring to himself, but he is also referring to his role as a lieutenant because others have also held that rank.

But what the heck is a "Son of Man"?

Actually, "Son of Man" is an inappropriate translation of the Greek phrase, υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

The word "son" is being translated from the Greek word υἱός (huios). This can only mean "son" when the discussion is in the context of a physical family. When used outside this context, the word means, "one of the posterity of any one," and "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." This describes someone who is serving another - an intimate servant.

Furthermore, the word translated to "man" is ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), which can mean either "humanity" or "mankind."

Thus we have the more appropriate translation - "servant of humanity."

This is precisely how Jesus saw himself, and he wanted his disciples to also take up this role. Why? Because he was teaching about the Supreme Being - a true service to humanity. Consider, for example, this statement by Jesus:
"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man [servant of humanity] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26-28)
We see by this statement by Jesus that he saw himself as a servant to humanity, and he wanted his disciples to also become servants to humanity.

The reason Jesus speaks of the "Son of Man" [servant of humanity] in the third person throughout his teachings:

Because the "Son of Man" [servant of humanity] is a role - a role that was not exclusive to Jesus. Jesus wanted all his disciples to become servants of humanity, and thus work to saving others.

An exalted servant?

Jesus is clarifying his glory as being God's servant and representative.

But as we see in the scriptures, God's representatives all teach love of God. They all teach giving our lives to the Supreme Being as the only means for becoming fulfilled. This is why Jesus often quoted Moses, David, Isaiah and others in his teachings. Because he was passing on the same teachings ultimately coming from the same person - the Supreme Person.

This all means that we can more appropriately translate the first phrase of Jesus statement above to:

What does 'His glory' mean?

Whose 'glory' are we speaking of here? We are speaking of the Supreme Being's glory. Actually, the word δόξα (doxa) refers to "magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace" according to the lexicon.

These are the traits of the Supreme Being. While the "servant of humanity" is certainly glorious and magnificent, what makes them this way is their loving relationship with the Supreme Being. Therefore, we can understand that the "glory or magnificence" Jesus is referring to being present with is the glory or magnificence of the Supreme Being.

In fact, the entire discussion relating to the "angels with Him" and "He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory" along with the rest are referring to the Supreme Being.

This is confirmed by the statement:

"‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father ..."

In other words, ecclesiastical sectarian translators that have thoroughly forgotten the very person that Jesus came to introduce us to - the Supreme Being - over the centuries have twisted Jesus' words to somehow mean that Jesus is pumping himself up as the big man sitting on the throne, dividing the nations and doing all the things that belong to the Supreme Being.

Jesus did not see himself, nor did he teach that he was this person. Rather, he saw himself as a messenger. As a servant. Here is the proof:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)

"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)

"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
These and many other verses describe Jesus as being God's servant - and having been sent by the Supreme Being. Furthermore, he is saying that his teachings are not his but the Supreme Being's.

This is what a messenger does. A messenger delivers a message. Jesus was "sent" to deliver a message.

What role is Jesus suggesting?

We see Jesus describing the "Son of Man" [servant of humanity] taking the role of every person who is distraught, sick and destitute, and those who come to the aid of anyone who is in this position as coming to the aid of the servant of humanity. Why is this?

Because the servant of humanity has been sent by the Supreme Being to retrieve those who are distraught, sick and destitute. God wants us to return to our relationship with Him.

But why the distraught, sick and destitute? Because only those who are tired of chasing the flickering dreams of the physical world are ready to receive God's invitation.

Jesus is using distraught, sick and destitute people in a metaphorical sense here. When a person gives up their dreams that this illusory world will make us happy, they have become destitute in another sense: They are ready to receive God's teachings because they have become humble. They have come to accept that they are not the big champions or winners in life. They are accepting that life is empty and lonely - which it is without our relationship with the Supreme Being.

Thus, anyone who comes to the aid of such a destitute person - by encouraging them to seek refuge in the Supreme Being - this person is welcomed back to the spiritual realm.

This is why Jesus' two most important instructions were:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt. 22:37-40)