Weeping & Gnashing of Teeth

Theme Text - "Behold, I have refined you; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10 NASB.

We studied the actual meaning of the various words translated as hell in the Bible - Sheol/Hades, Gehenna and Tartaroo. But didn’t Jesus talk about a place where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth?
This expression is found in seven places -
Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30, Luke 13:28.

  • It is obviously symbolic as Jesus uses it only in a parable or a symbolic statement all seven times.
  • Its meaning differs based on the context. But its general sense in all the places is – a finite period of punishment/trial for a group of people who have erred in God’s sight.
  • In Matt 13:42,50 it’s compared to a fiery furnace. Furnace is actually used across the Bible as a place of testing and refinement (Isa 48:10, Prov 17:3).
  • In other verses, it’s described as outer darkness (out of favor). For instance, in Matt 8:12, Jesus uses this phrase to explain that many Gentiles would take up positions in the Kingdom of God and how that would cause anguish (weeping and gnashing of teeth) for those among Israel who had rejected him - essentially a punishment.

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