Outer Darkness: The Condemnation
November 10th, 2009 by David Dansker
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
The Bible is nothing if it is not provocative. It describes not only the human condition, both cause and remedy, but it also tells of the time before the human race, and the universe after the race ends. The Bible also reveals information about other supernatural beings, and their interactions with humans throughout time. In fact, some things the Bible reveals about the unseen world seem so fantastic and dreadfully fearful that many down through history have chosen to interpret much of the Bible metaphorically, or otherwise spiritualize certain scriptures in order to fit them comfortably within the viewfinder of empiricism. Over the years Chuck Missler, of Koinonia House, has displayed no such temerity.
Several years ago Missler was the only other Bible student that this writer knew of who also came to the conclusion that the toes of Daniel’s Image comprised of both iron and miry clay signified the disharmony between two separate species. Where one new spices will mingle itself with the “seed of men” at the end of the last worldly kingdom indicates the tribulation period will witness a return of the Nephilim from Genesis, chapter six (Dan 2:43). Again, the sons of God will take wives of the daughters of men, and superhuman monstrosities will result; neither fully human, nor angelic. The Lord said that one effect of this would be: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Lk 21:26).1
Alternately, and of late, Missler appears to have adopted a seemingly more liberal biblical interpretation on another subject brought into controversy. It is this: that the prospect of finding oneself consigned to Outer Darkness is not the dreadful condition previously associated with it. The reasoning Missler uses is to disqualify Outer Darkness as a description of hell, but this alone will not significantly recast it as more palatable, or make it any more desirable than hell itself.
If any think that Outer Darkness is anything but complete and final estrangement from Christ, the light of the world, for eternity; they have stopped paying attention where attention should be paid. The scriptures are clear, speak for themselves, and require no preconceived ideas about hell to conclude that Outer Darkness is eternity without God. In the Bible Jesus is portrayed as the antithesis to darkness and those who dwell therein: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Mat 4:16). The shadows of darkness are where we find evil deeds, death, and alienation from God. In contrast, Jesus is the light who can reconcile man to God and grant them eternal life with Him (Col 1:21; Joh 17:3), and those who have Him have light: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 5:16).
The Term Outer Darkness is found only in book of Matthew where Christ used it three times. In each of these instances there is no compelling scriptural support to interpret it as anything other than complete and final separation from God. The scriptures need only be examined in their turn.
The first verse is found in Matthew, chapter eight:
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 8:11-12; emphasis added)
The rightful children of the Messianic Kingdom are the Jews. Though God always has his remnant, the history of Israel is one of idolatrous hypocrisy were most of the Jews reject God to worship other gods and idols. They rejected the King who came in the name of His Father, who was foretold to them by Moses and the prophets, and Christ said they will accept another who will come in his own name during the tribulation: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (Joh 5:43). At that time, the spiritual condition in Jerusalem is compared to that of Sodom (Rev 11:8), and fully two-thirds of the children of the kingdom will be cut off just prior the Christ’s return to Jerusalem to set up the Messianic Kingdom (Zec 13:8-9). This verse in Matthew is taken from the incident of the centurion’s request for Christ to heal his servant, and Christ marveled at the Gentile’s faith, and prophesied salvation to the Gentiles.
The second verse is found in Matthew, chapter twenty-two:
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat 22:11-14; emphasis added).
The Gospel of the Grace of God is gone out over the world and it calls men to repentance to receive the gift of salvation though Jesus Christ. Many have been called, but many also reject the offer. Nevertheless, we who are chosen by the Father and are delivered into Christ’s hand (Joh 10:27-29) will attend the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven as the Lamb of God’s bride, the Church (Rev 19:7; 21:9). We are to be clothed in white robes signifying blood-washed purity (Rev 19:8); and none other attire except that which Christ only can provide for His Church will be permitted there. Here it is shown that mere professors of Christ who do not know Him are not part of the true Church who will spend eternity with Him. Further, note that the man who is bound and cast out of the heavenly scene does not even remain as a friend of the Bridegroom.2
As the phrase weeping and gnashing of teeth is always associated with Outer Darkness, and is used only one other time where it does not accompany the term, it would be profitable to examine it where it is used to see if it carries any other meaning except that which supports the interpretation that Outer Darkness is complete separation from God. Here it is used in Matthew, chapter twenty-four:
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 24:48-51; emphasis added)
This weeping and gnashing of teeth is to be found in Outer Darkness. It is the anguish of those whose punishment is the portion of the hypocrites. These are part of those whom God will eventually send Antichrist against to cut them off (along with a hypocritical nation; Isa 10: 6, 12-25). There destiny is an outer darkness as compared to the light of the world reigning in the Kingdom and later in the Regeneration (Mat 19:28; 2Pet 3:9; Rev 21:1) where His brightness precludes any requirement for other illumination; including the sun: “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 22:5).
The evil servant here spoken of is an apostate. He is the last person described by Christ in His Olivet Discourse where He explains the signs of times at end of this age. This servant characterizes the great falling away, or the Apostasy (2Th 2:3). He is a false prophet who smites the saints by introducing damnable doctrines of demons (1Tim 4:1-2) into their congregations (this includes psychology as psychoheresy), and makes merchandise of them by marketing these heresies in the churches. There are many of them today, and many are notorious. Do not be fooled into thinking that their sin is only of gluttony and drunkenness. The “drunkenness” here referred to is the same cited in Revelation where the mother of all harlots (prostitutes) is shown to John, and her sins given: “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration” (Rev 17:6; emphasis added). The Greek word for drunken here is used metaphorically for one who sheds blood or murders profusely.
Today’s evil servants suck the blood out of the saints in tithes and offerings, and in programs and other merchandise. They threaten those with cursing from the law who cannot be cursed after that Christ was made a curse for us (Gal 3:13), and they compel the Gentiles to live as did the Jews (Mal 3; Gal 2; Heb 7). Never once are they teaching the whole counsel of God; that no man is justified by the law (Gal 3:11), and that any who are of the works of the law are under the curse, as he must continue in all things of the law to do them (Gal 3:10). These things cannot be done in practice as the old priesthood is done away with in Christ, our High Priest, and could never be completed in principal under that Levitical Priesthood, which atonements pointed towards completion in Christ. These evil servants will join the hordes of hell after the rapture of the church in killing all who refuse to take the mark of the beast, or worship his image; drunken with their blood.
The third verse is found in Matthew, chapter twenty-four:
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.3 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 25:26-30; emphasis added)
Those who are Christ’s are not classified as the wicked, as this servant is, after that they are justified through Him.4 The parable of the Wheat and Tares further clarifies the hopeless state of Outer Darkness; the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:49-50; emphasis added). Here we are told that the wicked are to be cut off from the just, their actual punishment in the Lake of Fire is specified (Rev 20:15), and their eternal misery is exemplified (“weeping” increased to “wailing” for emphasis, as it is in connection with Mat 13:42). It is true, as Koinonia House asserts, that Outer Darkness is not a description of hell, but it is not, as they suggest, just another place “within the Father’s House” where the light doesn’t shine.5 Remember what was said at the beginning of the Lord’s ministry on earth: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Mat 4:16; emphasis added). The Outer Darkness, and its comparative phrase “great light” are used analogously to emphasize the complete presence or complete absence of God in Christ (Isa 9:2); especially as it pertains to the next life for those who either accept or reject Him in this life. In the three times Jesus uses the term he did so to show complete separation from God, and that the type of persons who are going to experience that separation are categorized as the wicked, and are defined by their behavior. Outer Darkness is representative of the condemnation. If any cannot see that, they must by needs sake move closer to the light.
Notes:1. The powers that are shaken are the supernatural beings which inhabit the heavens and who will dislodge themselves and be dislodged from their first estate during the tribulation period (e.g. Rom 8:38; Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:15; 1Pet 3:22; Rev 12:10).
2. Some argue that the man in this parable was not cast from the presence of the Lord for eternity for they reason he was already in the kingdom. Firstly, it should be noted that none of this has taken place yet. Secondly, it should be pointed out that this is merely a scene upon which is painted an illustration. To see the faultiness of such reasoning one need only apply it to another such scene: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat 7:21-23). Could it not also be argued that the ones speaking to the Lord were in the kingdom? Certainly, but not wisely. For then would there be workers of iniquity there whom our Lord was ignorant of.
3. Him that “hath not” hath not Christ. The idea here is that Christ cannot remain dead in a born-again believer anymore than He could remain dead in the tomb. A person who sets Christ aside is one among the trees that bear no fruit, and are hewed down and cast into to the fire (Mat 7:19). “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid (Mat5:14; emphasis added) .
4. The term “wicked” is applied once in the context of a Christian in reference to a Corinthian Church member by the Apostle Paul, but the inference is there made that the person in question needed examination as to whether he be in the faith or outside it, and so liable to judgment as one in the world (1Cor 5:13).
5. Koinonia House, “The Shackles of Our Presuppositions,” Personal Update: The News Journal of Koinonia House 19, no. 10 (2009) 13.