“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:31-33).
We know that salvation is by grace alone through faith, not works, but real faith will produce good works that the Lord prepared for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:8-10). In the parable in Matthew, when Jesus separates the sheep and the goats, it shows us that works reveal the reality of their hearts and the shepherd they followed. Jesus’ sheep did the good works, but the goats did not. And we know that the goats are judged for their evil deeds as written in the books (Revelation 21:11-15).
In John 10, Jesus reveals that He is the Good Shepherd, and He is the shepherd of His sheep. In John 8, Jesus reveals that God is the father of those who love Him, but those who do not, their father is the devil (v 42-44). Based on these texts, I think it is legitimate to call the Antichrist the Shepherd of the Goats as symbolism for they follow him instead of Jesus.
We know that the spirit of Antichrist has already gone out into the world (1 John 2:18-23; 4:2-3, 2 John 1:7), and the mark of this spirit is that it denies the truth about Jesus’ identity and that God walked among us in the flesh. We also know that there will come a time when a man will arise to power that is the embodiment of this spirit, and he is unleashed upon the world at the time of the end, his own time (2 Thess 2:6). He is restrained until his appointed hour.
Why is the Shepherd of the Goats unleashed? Paul answers the question. The people of the world refuse to love the truth and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thess 2:9-10).
Antichrist will be the pinnacle of Satan’s work and power in denying Christ, and we know that Satan is our adversary who walks about like a roaring lion seeking to destroy and devour (1 Peter 5:8). Thus the Antichrist will be a bold lion, the Shepherd of the Goats. He will have an hour when he is revealed to the world, when he is unleashed as judgement against the world that rejects Christ. We see this illustrated.
“Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2).
The first seal that is broken by Jesus removes the restraining power that has held back the lawless one (2 Thess 2:7-8). Jesus is the only one who is worthy to open the seals (Revelation 5:5). In regard to Antichrist, the power (crown) is given to him to conquer the entire earth (Revelation 13:7-8) by the working of Satan. Notice he is given a bow, but there are no arrows. Many think this means he will conquer peacefully. We see this as well in Daniel’s prophecy that he will make peace with many (Daniel 9:27).
Originally God gave dominion of the earth to Adam (Genesis 1:26). When Adam obeyed the voice of Satan rather than God, Adam delivered his dominion to Satan (Luke 4:6; John 8:34; Romans 6:16). Until Christ comes back, Satan is the prince of this world (John 12:31, Ephesians 2:2), and Satan gives his authority to the Antichrist until Jesus destroys him (Revelation 13:4; 2 Thess 2:8, Daniel 2:44). The rule of the Antichrist is for a very short time (Revelation 13:5 ; 17:12).
From what people will the Antichrist descend? I have to say that he will be descended from the Romans.
Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy sevens (weeks of years) is clear, and the prophecy is given chronologically. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem would begin the count down to the crucifixion of the Messiah (483 years). Then after that the people of the prince to come (Antichrist) would destroy the city and temple. The Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Then the prince (when he comes in his time) will make a covenant of peace with many for the final 7 years. In the middle, the Antichrist (the prince) will put an end to sacrifice and offering (there will be a 3rd Temple).