Monday, January 2, 2012

The Place of Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Place of outer darkness, fire, & weeping
I want to examine what Scripture teaches about the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  I am aware that there are some people today who teach that this place is in heaven.  And if they don’t teach that it is in heaven, they teach that it is not hell.  They teach that if you are a believer in Jesus who has wasted your life, and not lived for Him, you will end up in this place, and realize what you wasted.  Then after there has been enough repentance, and enough weeping and gnashing of teeth, you will eventually enter heaven. Does the Scripture teach that?

The Destiny of the Wicked
The psalmist said, “For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries. He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted in honor. The wicked will see it and be vexed, He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked will perish.” (Psa 112:6-10)

It is the wicked who gnash their teeth, and we know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, but only the righteous. 

“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psa 1:5-6; cf., Psa 75:10)

The wicked will not stand in the judgment, but will perish.

“The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment.”  (Pro 10:16)

The wicked should not expect anything but punishment and wrath.

“The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.” (Pro 11:23)

The wicked have no refuge when they die, but are thrust down to hell, as if something were drawing them there magnetically. “The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.” (Pro 14:32)

Paul taught that there would certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Act 24:14-15)

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth in the Fire
Jesus also taught that there would be a resurrection and a judgment with eternal consequences. He said, "So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 13:49-50)

Jesus taught that the wicked would be thrown into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it’s clear that the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth is in the fire of hell.

Jesus also taught that while many Gentiles would enter the kingdom of heaven, many of the original sons of the kingdom would be thrown into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  (Mat 8:11-12)

Jesus once told the parable of the tares.  Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 13:36-42)

According to Jesus, the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth is the furnace of fire, which is the eternal destination of “all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” who were planted by the devil.

No Weeping in Heaven
If there is weeping there, we know it cannot be in heaven, since there are no tears in heaven. “For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Rev 7:17)

The apostle John said, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’" (Rev 21:3-4)

The Evil Ones Are Thrown into That Place
He taught that although the wedding hall would be filled with dinner guests, both evil and good, those who are evil, and therefore disqualified to be at the wedding would be bound and thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” (Mat 22:1-13)

He consistently taught that it is the evil ones who go to that place.  Here is another example: "Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 'But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 24:45-51).

The evil slave, who beats his fellow slaves and eats and drinks with drunkards, will go to that place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Jesus explicitly said He the Master would cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites.  If this place of outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, is not hell, then what is it?  As I said, there are those who teach that it is a place where believers in Jesus can repent after they die, and still enter heaven afterward.  This is simply not Scriptural.  The hypocrites go to this place, and the drunkards, and we know they will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. 

Paul taught this explicitly, “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1Co 5:11-13)

The Eternal Destination of Hypocrites
Jesus said that hypocrites do not enter the kingdom of heaven, but receive condemnation.  "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. [Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]” (Mat 23:14)

Jesus said that hypocrites are sons of hell. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Mat 23:15)

Jesus said that hypocrites neglect the weightier provisions of the Law like justice and mercy and faithfulness. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Mat 23:23)

If they neglect these weightier provisions of the law, then they praise the wicked. “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But those who keep the law strive with them.” (Pro 28:4)

Jesus said hypocrites are full of robbery and self-indulgence on the inside. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.” (Mat 23:25)

He said they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.” (Mat 23:27)

The hearts of hypocrites are far from God.  Jesus said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.’” (Mar 7:6)

Putting it All Together
So anyone who is cut in pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  To teach this is to go completely against Scripture.  Do not fall for this teaching.

The place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth is the furnace of fire, where the wicked are banished eternally. It is not a temporary holding ground where dead people repent before being allowed to enter heaven.

The apostle John said, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” (Rev 22:14-15)

Scripture is clear that the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying will be shut outside of the Holy City. No amount of repentance after they die will ever enable them to enter heaven.  Mercy is only available on earth.  The Lord’s standard is high, and He will not lower it for anyone. He requires that we live a life of righteousness, holiness, and truth, if we want to see heaven.  I encourage you today to follow Jesus and to do that.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: I also recommend reading A Trip to Hell, The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught, Is Obedience Optional?Holy Fire Baptism, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies. Also check out Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell and The Three Elijahs. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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