Articles, God’s Word, Prophetic Articles, The Rapture of the Church

THE STORY AND FACTS ON JESUS CHRIST IMMINENT RETURN FOR HIS CHURCH (THE BRIDE OF CHRIST)

THE BRIDE

https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/prophecy/the-bride/
By Jack Kelley Wednesday August 7th, 2019 About 9 Minutes to Read
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
This is an update of an article originally published in March 2004.  While it’s based on the Bible, it also includes Jewish wedding traditions from Biblical times. Some of these traditions go all the way back to Abraham’s time and are described in Genesis 24. Others come from various books and commentaries I’ve read.
Note: You can also listen to Jack’s audio studio on this subject here:
THE BRIDE
BIRTH OF A TRADITION
We’ll begin with a summary of the story of Isaac and Rebekah from Genesis 24. Abraham was getting old and Sarah had died, so he sent his chief servant to the land of his brother to get a wife for Isaac. The servant loaded up 10 camels with gifts and set off. After some time he arrived in the village of Abraham’s brother Nahor. Approaching a young woman near a well, he asked for a drink, in accordance with a plan he had devised with the Lord.  When the young woman offered to draw water for his camels as well, she was giving him the confirming sign he had asked the Lord to provide.  He then accompanied her to her family’s home.
That evening he asked her family for permission to take the young woman, whose name was Rebekah, back home to be the bride of his master’s son Isaac. Using the gifts to reward her and to compensate her family for the loss of their daughter, he said he wanted to leave immediately. When Rebekah’s father turned to her for final approval, she agreed and they set off the next morning. After several days of travel during which the servant told her all about her betrothed, they arrived at Isaac’s home where she met him for the first time.  That very evening Isaac and Rebekah were married.
THAT’S THE WAY IT GOES
Members of royalty often followed a procedure very similar to this in obtaining brides for their sons, sometimes arranging them years in advance of the actual event. Common people also adopted this method, but of course, with them, the prospective groom acted on his own behalf rather than sending someone in his stead.
Even today in some Middle Eastern cultures arranged marriages are common, with the groom’s mother selecting a bride for her son. The logic here is that a young man’s mother knows her son and his temperament better than anyone and can most accurately predict what kind of woman would please him. On one of our trips to Israel and Jordan, our Jordanian guide told us that his marriage had been arranged in this way and he was very happy with his mother’s selection.
BACK TO BIBLICAL TIMES
In those days when a man took a liking to a young woman, he approached her father to ask for her hand in marriage.  Due to the prevailing economic conditions back then,  it took a long time for a man to become financially stable enough to think about starting a family.  When he did, he looked for a bride who was still young enough to bear him many children who could help him work the land when he got old.   So while the man in these cases could be in his thirties, the potential bride would often still be a teenager.
Inviting the man into their home, the young woman’s parents sat down with him around a table while she brought wine and four cups. After she had poured each of them (but not herself) a cup of wine, she listened while this man, who she was meeting for the very first time, described his assets, skills and other qualities that made him a desirable mate. A brief negotiation followed where the price he would have to pay as compensation for the family’s loss of their daughter was determined. It was called the bride price.
If the two men reached an agreeable amount all eyes turned to the daughter who had been listening intently to the entire discussion. She now had to decide if she would take this man to be her husband. If she turned her empty cup upside down, the man went away never to return. But if she filled her cup and took a sip of the wine, she was agreeing to become his wife.
At that point, they signed a betrothal agreement, wherein the man promised on oath to return for the young woman when all the wedding preparations were complete. Now they were officially engaged and the relationship could only be terminated by a divorce.  He went away to build a home for them on family property next to his father’s house. This could take some time, and the couple rarely met again until the father of the groom pronounced the newly built home fit for habitation.  Only then was the wedding date set, and the man was given permission by his father to go collect his bride for the wedding.
During this time the young woman was to watch and wait at her parents’ home. She and her bridesmaids had to maintain a constant state of preparedness, since the wedding date would not be revealed to her until the bridegroom actually appeared at her door to take her to their new home.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE
For his part, the groom would try to show up unexpectedly to surprise her, carrying her off suddenly “like a thief in the night” when no one would see them. The only advance warning she would get was the sound of his voice shouting her name and the blast of a ram’s horn.
When the bridesmaids discovered that the bride had been “spirited away” they would organise a great torch-lit procession, going throughout the whole town announcing that the wedding banquet was soon to begin. The banquet typically capped off a seven-day celebration during which the bride and groom were hidden away in their private rooms while the whole town made merry. Then they reappeared at the banquet to receive the congratulations of their friends and family, and their married life officially began.  The father of the groom picked up the tab for all the festivities.
Maybe you’re beginning to see the similarities. The Lord Jesus, being royalty, does not come directly seeking His bride. His Father sends an unnamed servant on His behalf, just like Abraham did. This servant, of course, is the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, who beckons us.  Interestingly, the name of Abraham’s servant was Eliezer, which translates “God is my Comforter.” And even more so, in Genesis 24 Eliezer’s name is never mentioned, as if he’s serving as a model of the Holy Spirit, whose name is also withheld from us.
The role of the Holy Spirit is to extol the virtues of the Son of God, who when told that the Bride price was nothing less than His own shed blood, agreed to die for us, and for the joy set before Him endured the cross. (Hebr. 12:2). His last word from the cross, recorded in John 19:30, was tetelestai, a Greek word that’s been translated It is finished.  In the Lord’s time, it was a legal term that literally meant, “Paid in full”,  It was written across paid invoices and prison documents upon release of prisoners who had served their full terms, and had therefore paid their debt to society. With His death, Jesus paid the price in full for His bride.
WHO LOVES YOU?
At the Last Supper Jesus had hoisted His cup and said, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:25).
When we first “take the cup” we’re signifying that we’re officially betrothed,  and we’re rewarded with gifts from the Holy Spirit, who is sealed within us as a guarantee of our inheritance (Ephe. 1:13-14). We then begin our journey, the balance of our life on Earth, while the Holy Spirit continues to teach us about our betrothed and helps us develop behavioral standards that are pleasing to Him.
As He does, we learn to our utter amazement that we have always been our Lord’s consuming desire,
That He lived so that we might come into existence and be set apart,
That He has longed for us to know how much He loves us,
That His every word and action were designed to bring us honour and express His devotion to us,
That He has dedicated Himself to us and covered all of our imperfections with His love, and
That He gave His life for us.
For His part, the Lord is even now building a house for us.
You trust in God; trust also in me,“ He said. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
He has sworn an oath to return for us when the wedding preparations are complete and take us to His Father’s house, to the place He’s been preparing for us.
SOON AND VERY SOON
One day when we least expect it, He’ll come like a thief in the night and spirit us away to our new home. 
For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so will we be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thes. 4:16-17).
In Heaven, the King and His Bride will be hidden away in our rooms, while on Earth the last seven years of human history unfold (Isa. 26:19-20). At the end, following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), we’ll return together to rule and reign for 1000 years, and then it’s off to our eternal life with Him.  Praise the Lord.  Selah 08-22-09
 

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THE PARABLE OF THE WEDDING BANQUET

https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/parables/the-parable-of-the-wedding-banquet/
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off–one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matt 22:1-14)
WHY ALL THE PARABLES?
The Greek word for parable literally means to set alongside.  A fictional earthly story is set alongside a heavenly truth to help convey its meaning.  When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke to the people in parables He said,
“The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Matt. 13:11-12)
In effect this means a parable was meant to accomplish two things:
1) to instruct His followers, and
2) to confuse everyone else.
These seemingly conflicting objectives can both be accomplished because it’s the Holy Spirit who gives us the understanding we need.  Without the Holy Spirit no one can comprehend the things of God. Paul put it this way;
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14)
The parable of the wedding banquet is a good example. It’s either very instructive or very confusing depending on your understanding of the Bible. (A working knowledge of Jewish wedding customs during Biblical times can also be helpful but is not essential.)
THE WEDDING PLANNER
First century Jewish wedding customs held that the father of the groom was in charge of the event and bore all the expense associated with the wedding and the banquet that followed.  I’ve been told this included providing a specially made garment for guests, to be worn over a guest’s regular clothing. This wedding garment was presented to the guest upon arrival and donned immediately. Refusal to wear it was an insult to the Father of the groom and could get a guest ejected from the festivities (Source: https://www.bible-history.com/biblestudy/marriage.html).
As I said, the Parables of our Lord Jesus are earthly stories meant to explain heavenly truths. Each person or object is symbolic of someone or something else. Understanding the symbolism is crucial to discovering the lesson of the Parable.  In fact receiving the full theological impact of a parable requires such an understanding.
The King represents God the Father, His Son our Lord Jesus.  Invited guests who declined His invitation symbolise Israel’s rejection of the Messiah and the servants He sent to invite them are the prophets. The city He destroyed is Jerusalem, and the wedding banquet is the Kingdom of Heaven.  This puts the timing of the parable at the Second Coming.
DO YOU KNOW THE BRIDE?
Some say the last group He sent His servants out to invite represents the Church, but the symbolism and timing are wrong. The Church is the Bride of Christ (Ephes. 5:25-27), not a group of last minute substitute guests. Since Israel had already declined His invitation, and the Church (being the bride) would not need an invitation, who could these guests be?
They have to come from a time after the Bride is chosen and prepared, because the wedding banquet is ready and only the guests are lacking for the festivities to begin. Therefore, they can only be from a group we call Tribulation believers, those who come to faith after the Rapture of the Church in Revelation 4 but before the Wedding Banquet of Revelation 19.
HERE’S THE REAL LESSON OF THE PARABLE
The wedding garment represents God’s righteousness. This is a concept explained on several occasions in both the Old and New Testaments. Isaiah described our righteousness as filthy rags (Isa 64:6) and God’s righteousness as “garments of salvation” and “robes of righteousness” (Isa 61:10) where the acquisition of these qualities is likened to clothing given us at a wedding.
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isa 61:10).
In Revelation 19 the church has been prepared as a bride having been clothed in white linen, representing our righteousness.  But as in Isaiah 61:10, the righteousness symbolised by the clothing is given to the bride, not purchased or earned.  Paul said that ours is a righteousness that comes to us through faith (Romans 3:21-22).
The fact that a guest is thrown out into the darkness for not wearing wedding clothes indicates these last minute guests are required to be clothed in “garments of salvation” as well. Rev. 16:15 tells us Tribulation believers will have to “keep their clothes with them.” In other words they’ll be responsible for maintaining the righteousness they will have been given by obeying God’s commandments and remaining faithful to Jesus (Rev. 14:12). Only the Church has been promised the gift of eternal security.
Therefore the guest who was escorted out had been a Tribulation believer who was now trying to gain entrance to the banquet in his own clothing, having lost or discarded the “garment of salvation” he’d been given. He was hoping to gain entrance to the kingdom in his own righteousness, which as Isaiah said, is like filthy rags in God’s sight.
This is another slant on the parable of the 10 bridesmaids (Matt. 25:1-13). The setting there is also the time of the 2nd Coming.  And again, the Church is not a bridesmaid. The Church is the bride and could not be refused admittance to her own wedding banquet. The five who were excluded were tribulation believers who had lost their salvation either by not obeying God’s commandments or by not remaining faithful to Jesus or both. This is indicated by their lack of sufficient oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.   Since the Holy Spirit is sealed within the Church as a deposit guaranteeing our salvation (Ephes 1:13-14), the bridesmaids who were excluded from the banquet have to represent a post rapture group from whom the Holy Spirit had departed after a lapse of faith.
Many are invited, but few are chosen (Matt 22:1-14). God doesn’t desire that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But whether it’s the Bride or the wedding guests, the only righteousness that gains us admission into His presence is that which is given us as a gift and accepted in faith (Rom 3:21-22). All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Gal 3:27). For God made Him Who had no sin to become sin for us, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Selah 05-19-12.
 

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THE OUTER DARKNESS

https://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/the-outer-darkness/
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
I’ve received several questions lately asking for clarification of the term “Outer Darkness”  so here’s an updated and expanded version of a study I did on the subject several years ago. The outer darkness is mentioned a total of 4 times in the New Testament, three by name and one by implication, and always by Jesus. The term is not used anywhere else, Old Testament or New, by anyone else. Those who ask about the outer darkness want to know if it’s another name for the place of eternal punishment, or if it’s some place different. And they want to know who’s going there.
The problem I’ve had in researching this is there’s no general agreement among scholars as to what it is, where it is, or even for whom it’s intended.  While most experts say it’s for unbelievers, some actually teach that it’s a place where believers who have not properly sanctified themselves will go after the rapture. According to these teachers, some believers will be taken in the rapture because they believe Jesus died for their sins and rose again. 
But instead of beginning their eternal life of bliss in the presence of the Lord, they’ll spend the Millennium “outside, in the darkness”  learning to live a holy life so they’ll be fit to dwell in the Lord’s presence during eternity.  Thankfully, there’s not a shred of Biblical evidence to support this view.  On the contrary, at the moment of the rapture all believers will be made perfect, conformed to the likeness of the Son (Romans 8:29, 1 John 3:2), having become in fact that which we currently are by faith (2 Cor. 5:17).
There’s also no agreement as to whether the outer darkness is a physical location or simply a state of being. The phrase outer darkness literally means, “outside, where there is no light”.  But the Greek word for darkness can be used metaphorically to mean spiritual ignorance or blindness.  An accompanying phrase describes it as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, which denotes extreme anguish and utter despair.  So whether you think it’s a state of mind or a physical location the outer darkness is obviously not a nice place to be.
For many generations it was simply thought to be another name for Hell. But Hell, or more accurately Hades, is not a permanent destination. It’s a temporary one that will be thrown into the Lake of Fire at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:14). What I read about the outer darkness leads me to believe it’s a permanent state.
So let’s take another look at its four appearances to see if we can answer some of the lingering questions about the Outer Darkness.
Matt. 8:5-12
The first time Jesus mentioned the outer darkness was in Matt. 8:12 at the end of His encounter with the Roman Centurion.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
(Matt. 8:5-12)
In this reference to the outer darkness, Jesus was clearly speaking to and about Israel. He was criticising the Jews because a Gentile Roman soldier was demonstrating a stronger faith in Him than they had. He said that their lack of faith would result in people from all over the world (Gentiles) inheriting the Kingdom, while the Jews, who were the Kingdom’s intended subjects, would be thrown into the outer darkness, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Israel was then (and will be again) God’s Kingdom on Earth. The Lord repeated His warning to them in Matt. 21:43 when He said,
“Therefore I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”
It’s obvious that the Lord believed they were the subjects of the Kingdom or else why would He threaten to take it away from them?
So in His first mention of the outer darkness the Lord warned the Jewish people of His time that at the End of the Age, Gentile believers like the Centurion would join the Jewish patriarchs at the Feast inaugurating the Kingdom Age while they themselves would be thrown outside into the darkness for failing to recognise their Messiah.
Matt 22:1-14
The next time He mentioned it was in Matt. 22:13 as part of His parable of the Wedding Banquet.
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
FOR MANY ARE INVITED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN.” (Matt. 22:1-14)
There are three things to keep in mind here. First, the bride is never mentioned in this parable. Second, a bride is not considered a last minute guest and in any case could never be thrown out of her own wedding.  And third, the banquet follows the wedding, so in the context of the parable the wedding has already taken place.
To accept the view that this parable is about the Church you have to ignore these facts. Then you have to assume that some in the Church are the Bride while others are not.  But the Bible never even hints of that. It’s a man made conclusion without any support. If we’re saved, we’re in the Church and if we’re in the Church we’re the Bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2).
In parables everything is symbolic of something else, and the Bible always explains what they stand for. Isaiah 61:10 explains that the wedding clothes represent righteousness;
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Here’s how I see it. In Rev. 16:15, just after the 6th Bowl judgement and long after the church has departed, the Lord said,
“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Rev. 14:12
He was alluding to the fact that the Doctrine of Eternal Security will expire with the Rapture, a fact that Jesus also taught in the Parable of the 10 Virgins. Tribulation believers will be saved by faith, just like everyone else, but will be responsible for keeping themselves saved, or as John said, keeping their clothes with them. Rev. 14:12 says they will do this by obeying God’s commandments and remaining faithful to Jesus.
The man ejected from the banquet was a last minute guest. He represents tribulation survivors, none of whom are part of the Church. He was trying to receive the blessing of those invited to the wedding banquet that occurs at the time of the 2nd Coming (Rev. 19:9). The wedding banquet represents the Millennium.  But He either hadn’t remained faithful and had lost his salvation, or never was saved at all.  Remember the servants invited both the “good” and the “bad” and it isn’t clear whether this man had wedding clothes and lost them, or never had them in the first place.  Either way, the point is He was there in His own righteousness and it was insufficient.  When he tried to gain entrance into the banquet, he was discovered and ejected.
So the 2nd reference applies to unbelieving survivors from the Great Tribulation who will be denied a place in the Kingdom for lack of the righteousness that comes by faith, and banished to the outer darkness instead.
Matt. 24:45-51
NEXT IS THE PARABLE OF THE SERVANTS
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 24:45-51)
This parable has only an implied reference to the outer darkness, calling it a place for hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 24:51). Since the phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” accompanies every other mention of the outer darkness, I think it’s safe to include it in our study. The timing of this parable was established as early as Matt. 24:29-30 which makes every thing that follows pertain to people on Earth at the time of the 2nd Coming. As a matter of fact, all the Olivet Discourse parables describe the destinies of Tribulation Survivors. You can easily confirm this by also looking at Matt. 24:36-37, Matt. 25:1, and Matt. 25:14.
The Parable Of The Servants is about those who will have held positions of spiritual leadership during the Great Tribulation. In the Millennial Kingdom, the Lord will elevate leaders who have kept the word of God through the intense hardship and persecution of the times, and have taught sound doctrine to the flocks entrusted to them, to a place of authority.  (Remember, no Tribulation survivor will enter the New Jerusalem, but will dwell on Earth during the Lord’s Millennial reign.)
But having forsaken the truth, the wicked servants will no longer be watching for the Lord’s return, ignoring the obvious fulfilment of prophecy all around them and ridiculing those whose child-like faith sustains them. They are the worst of all enemies because they’ll look and sound like friends. They’re like the one John describes as appearing to have the authority of the Lamb but who speaks the words of the Dragon (Rev. 13:11). The Greek word translated hypocrite was often used to describe an actor or pretender, someone who appears to be something he’s not. So for the third time we see the Outer Darkness as a place for unbelievers. In this case it’s those who have betrayed the trust placed in them.
Matt. 25:14-30
The Lord’s final reference to the outer darkness appears at the end of the Parable of the Talents.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
(Matt. 25:14-30)
Like the other Olivet Discourse parables, the timing of this one is after the 2nd coming, the judgement is on Earth, and the man who had his only talent confiscated demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of and faith in his master. He thought of Him as a hard man who accepted credit He didn’t deserve and he was afraid the master would treat him unfairly.  This person can’t be a believer because no believer feels that way about Jesus. His punishment is to be consigned to the outer darkness.
So in all four cases, the ones being judged are unbelievers and their punishment is to live in a state of total obscurity where they will experience extreme anguish and utter despair. The fact that there’s no expanded teaching on the outer darkness elsewhere in the Bible leads me to believe the Lord was speaking of a place we’re already familiar with, but describing it in a way that helps us understand how it will feel to be there.
Remember, the words obscurity, extreme anguish and utter despair are associated with the outer darkness. To be there is to be cut off from the presence of the Lord and everyone else, existing in total obscurity. The dictionary defines anguish as excruciating or acute distress, suffering, or pain, and despair as a state of utter hopelessness.
That, my friends, is the consequence of unbelief. Whether you call it Hell, Hades, Ghana, the Lake of Fire, or the Outer Darkness,  you wouldn’t want your worst enemy to spend even an hour there. 05-02-15

 

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