This last judgment section is unique to Matthew. Jesus said that all the gentile nations would be gathered before him (καὶ συναχθήσονται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη). Then he would separate them from each other (καὶ ἀφορίσει αὐτοὺς ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων). Just like a shepherd separated the sheep from the goats (ὥσπερ ὁ ποιμὴν ἀφορίζει τὰ πρόβατα ἀπὸ τῶν ἐρίφων), he would place the sheep at his right hand (καὶ στήσει τὰ μὲν πρόβατα ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ). Then he would place the goats at his left hand (τὰ δὲ ἐρίφια ἐξ εὐωνύμων). The divine judgment of Yahweh was a common biblical theme. Here it is the Son of Man who judges everyone. On the right side are the just righteous sheep, while on the left side are the wild or bad goats, a common generic theme. Good is to the right, just as right-handed people are good. Left-handed people are looked at with suspicion, as are left leaning policies.
When Ezekiel had finished the 390 days laying on his left side for the punishment of Israel, he was ordered to lie down a second time, but this time on his right side. He was going to bear a punishment for the house of Judah. However, this was only for 40 days, representing the famous 40 years in the wilderness from Egypt to the Promise Land. However, during this time, he was to face toward the siege of Jerusalem. In fact, he was to bear his arm and prophesy against the city of Jerusalem. To make sure that Ezekiel would do this and not move, Ezekiel had cords put on him, so that he could not switch sides. I am not sure how this worked. He was to do this until he had completed the two assignments for a total of 430 days.
The voice of Yahweh or the Spirit continued telling Ezekiel to lie on his left side for 390 days to indicate the number of years that Israel would be punished. Thus Ezekiel would assume this punishment that was intended for Israel, lying there on his left side one day for every year, like a scapegoat. It is hard to figure out where this number came from since it is more than a year of days. The exile did not last this long.
Each creature had the face of a human being in front. Then there was a face of a lion on the right side with a face of an ox on the left side. In the back was the face of an eagle. Interesting enough this is similar to the idea of cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times. They had a statue of a god who had the head of a human, the body of a lion, the paws of an ox, with wings. This same symbolism was later taken up as the symbols of the four Christian evangelists, as well as the 4 creatures of the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. There is also the interpretation that these animal heads symbolize mobility, intelligence, and strength. Their wings were spread out above each of these creatures, so that they touched each other. Thus these wings covered the bodies of these creatures.