First I want to say that I think Dan Duval is cool guy. I first came across him over a year ago now as my podcast-addict tendencies brought me to his original online radio show called “Discovering the Truth with Dan Duval“. He talks about a lot of things, almost all of which I have found absolutely fascinating and very much in line with a lot of the topics/perspectives I have come to spend a lot of time investigating in the realm of “eschatology”, such as Genesis 6/Nephilim, mind control programming, the New World Order, spiritual realms/dimensions, water spirits and so on. His interview of former “Illumined One” Carol Hamlett is still one of my all-time favorite interviews/testimonies. Ever. It’s hard to listen to Dan Duval and not find yourself getting pumped up about Bible Prophecy. He has a gift for speaking and exhortation for sure.
One of the things I’ve heard him speak about which grabbed my attention from the beginning was the mention of this idea of “Sheep Nations”, although until quite recently I never was able to get a very clear grasp of just what it was all about. He’s written a book called “Kingdom Government and the Promise of Sheep Nations“, and after meeting guys like Basil and Gonz at a recent prophecy forum conference, has just been a guest on both Canary Cry Radio and Derek Gilbert’s “View from the Bunker” podcasts (both of which I listen to pretty regularly). This interview with Derek I found especially helpful in expounding upon what Dan is putting forth in his “Sheep Nations” teaching, (the Canary Cry interview is also great, but covered more of a variety of topics) and since it’s been something I’ve been meaning to look into myself for sometime now, it really helped push me to examine it closer. This is what I have basically found…
The eschatological teaching of “Sheep Nations” is for the most part based upon a specific interpretation of Jesus’s words in Matthew 25:31-46. Verses 32/33 say: “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”, and so the claim is that because it says “all the nations will be gathered”, this means that it is actually the nations that will in fact be judged at this time, as some form of collective national or ethnic groupings, and not individuals being judged in the context of personal Salvation. Duval makes the statement that nowhere in this section does Jesus use the term “Salvation by grace through faith”, so this must mean that Jesus isn’t referring to Salvation at all, but in fact a totally different instance/type of future judgment. Hearing this particular interpretation of Matthew 25 was what first raised some serious red flags for me about this Sheep Nation thing…
The claim made by Duval, and other proponents of this teaching I found online, is that what Jesus is describing is not a judgment of faith, but of works, so then what they conclude is that the people being judged as the “Sheep” in verses 34-40 are actually nations who “fed/clothed/served Jesus” by physically showing compassion and giving aid to true Christians during the Tribulation, while not actually being Christians themselves. I find this whole idea so problematic it’s almost hard to know where to even begin!
First of all, the assertion that Jesus is describing a “works based judgment” and not judging based on faith, is first and foremost a false conclusion, and when you clear this away the rest of the argument really has nothing left to stand on anyway. Just because Jesus doesn’t use the term “grace through faith” doesn’t mean He isn’t still speaking to it, since we could probably look through the entirety of all four gospels and never see that actual phrase used by Christ ever. Does that mean that Jesus never taught such a thing, and that Paul only came up with it later? Of course not. You could use this type of reasoning and use it go back through everything Jesus said and twist it around to make everything a proclamation of a “works-based gospel”, but that would be totally inaccurate. What about the verses in James which talk about how faith without deeds is dead..?
In this interpretation, it is claimed that the “Sheep Nations” are not being judged in regard to Salvation, and thus are not actually being sentenced to heaven or hell, but their reward is to actually be able to go on as the living, reproducing mortal “citizens” of the Millennial reign of Christ which follows. Now, this is where the internal contradictions really start to become even more obvious, because to the alleged “Sheep nations” Jesus says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world”, and to the “Goat Nations” he says, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. The claim is that these judgments are not “salvific” or eternal in nature, but how could you seriously try and defend such a thing? So, the “Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” is a “citizenship” in the Millennial reign of Christ for people who aren’t actually Saved…? And conversely, you would have to then logically assume that the people in the “goat nations” (who apparently are judged so because they didn’t feed/clothe/shelter Christians in the Tribulation) would be punished by not being “citizens” in the millennial kingdom, but have to be “outside” of it as mortals, except, they’re punished to eternal fires of hell…(!?)
This is really bizarre and self-contradictory, and ultimately is further proved to be incompatible with Jesus intended meaning when we read the last verse of the chapter, which simply and clearly says, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Boom. There it is. If the righteous are going on to “eternal life”, then you can’t try and say that the “righteous” in this instance are merely going on to mortal life as “citizens” in the earthly, Millennial reign of Christ, who can still die, and even eventually go on to follow Satan in his one last rebellion against Jesus in the Gog/Magog war at the end of the thousand years, and then get to hell with him. That’s really quite the exact opposite of “eternal life”!
But the Gog/Magog thing is really very much to the whole point, and after hearing Duval speak about this, the underlying motivations for holding to such a bizarre interpretation of Matthew 25 finally started to come into better focus. For the longest time, I really couldn’t figure it out. When I started looking into the origins of this “Sheep Nations” teaching, it seems to have been originated from 18th century Calvinist theologian John Gill, though it could have merely been popularized by him. In any case, the concept of sheep nations historically does seem to be an idea which lends itself to dispensationalism, premillennialism, and a pre-trib perspective on prophecy.
The Scofield reference Bible, the veritable primogenitor of Dispensationalism overall, says about Matthew 25, “This judgment is to be distinguished from the great white throne. Here there is no resurrection; the persons judged are living nations; no books are opened; three classes are present, sheep, goats, and brethren; the time is at the return of Christ; and the scene is on the earth. All these particulars are in contrast with Revelation 20:11-15.”
Now, this is where it gets really interesting, because Duval, (like myself) is actually solidly pre-Wrath, believing that the Church in it’s entirety (not just some handful of “left behind saints”) will experience persecution by the anti-Christ during the Tribulation, so in many ways, he is applying the sheep nation idea in what appears to be a newly adapted way. But, as was now made quite clear to me by listening to the interview with Derek Gilbert, Duval, despite being pre-wrath, is still very much locked into a Dispensational framework, and almost alarmingly so. At one point he actually says, “In the Old Testament days, salvation was through the Law, and then from the cross onward, it was through grace.” (paraphrasing) WHOA THERE! Not so fast… I actually yelled out so loud that people in the other room could here me when I listened to that. That is a serious misunderstanding, and really goes to show what is at the heart of Dispensationalism, and how it can actually work as a type of theological building block on top which all kinds of other false ideas can be placed.
Allegations of parallels with Dominionism have not surprisingly arisen, and have been summarily dismissed by Duval in several interviews, since to be fair, what he is describing can truly be said to be distinct from Dominionist theology, in the sense that it is not calling for a total conquest of the entire world by the Church in order to usher in Christ’s return. However… I would have to challenge anyone to explain to me how it couldn’t still be regarded as being akin to some type of “limited” or “partial Dominionism”, because, okay, even if you aren’t trying to infiltrate the “7 pillars of influence” in every country on Earth, aren’t you still basically talking about seeing the same happen on an individual nationalistic or ethnic basis…? Duval speaks of a “Goshen principle”, referring to how when the Israelites were in Egypt as it suffered the plagues, God spared them from his judgments upon Pharaoh, as if this demonstrates a convincing analogy of how God would then of course have to use individual nations, or people groups, or something, in order to take care of all the running, persecuted Christians in the Tribulation. Unfortunately, that analogy doesn’t work at all, because Goshen wasn’t actually a people group or city whose inhabitants protected the Israelites, it was simply the name of the “neighborhood” as it were where the Israelites lived in Egypt! It WAS in fact God’s pure, miraculous intervention which kept them safe from the boils, the darkness, the frogs, the bloody water, etc., safe from the angel who took the first born of the households without the blood on the doorpost… So instead of bolstering the argument that Christians in the End Times couldn’t survive the anti-Christ by pure Heavenly intervention, but would need some kind of earthly assistance (and this is really one of the core elements of his whole premise) I’d say it actually quite plainly refutes it.
I hope that most Christians wouldn’t need to have it spelled out for them why the concept of “Sheep and Goat nations” itself should be instantly recognized as dangerous, simply because of how such a thing can so easily and almost inevitably slide into the promotion of very unhealthy and extreme Nationalistic thinking. Unfortunately, in a country like the United States, merging zealous nationalism and pseudo-Christianity is pretty much the dominant religious reality, and so it really comes as no surprise to see that the teaching of “Sheep Nations” is commonly associated not only with Dispensationalism, but also closely with Christian Zionism…
Jesus said “My Kingdom is not of this world”, but when you start trying to insert a concept like “sheep nations”, in which entire countries/ethnicities are somehow judged en masse, NOT according to faith but somehow by their collective works towards those who DO have faith, then I would argue that whether you realize it or not, you’re actually opening quite a nasty little Pandora’s box, where realistically, Christians are given a dualistic lens through which they are able to regard the world, in a manner that the Bible simply does not. I could probably write another post just as long as this one simply speculating on all the various ways this kind of teaching could be exploited by the Enemy towards deceiving the Faithful into putting their trust worldly governments, systems and people instead of God Himself, being falsely secure in the thought that they have managed to be part of a “sheep nation”, whether that was an entire nation/state somewhere, or just some small hidden enclave somewhere, some little “independent community” of people trying to hide and/or resist the anti-Christ’s New World Order.
Overall, I think the main point is that when you look at all the prophecy in scripture regarding the Last Days, in reality there is actually only a very tiny portion of it devoted to millennium whatsoever, and where it does mention it, there is nothing said which should compel us to feel the need to speculate on it’s nature to the degree that we start developing contrived eschatological theories about them which even run the risk of being contrary to the heart of the Gospel itself, simply to make something like the Millennium “make sense” in our own minds right now, especially from a skewed Dispensationalist mindset. The Bible doesn’t seem too concerned with us figuring out how the Millennium is going to “work”, or being able to identify who the people are who will be deceived by Satan on final time when he’s released from his prison after the thousand years is ended. In the chapter before Matthew 25, Jesus warns very explicitly about not being deceived in the time before His coming. I believe God absolutely CAN take care of His people, His bride, in the midst of any and all persecution, troubling times, chaotic natural disasters, etc., without relying whatsoever on human institutions, resources, or ingenuity.
After all, we remember that He took care of roughly a million people, for forty years in a barren DESERT, feeding them with food that came straight out of the SKY, and water that flowed straight out of a rock….