Outer Darkness

In the page The Gospel of the Kingdom vs. The Gospel of Salvation I discussed that some believers end up being outside New Jerusalem. I will be discussing that further here. Here is a bit I shared on that:

Luke 14: NKJV  
34 "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  
35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"  

They are not fit for the land which is the Kingdom, nor are they fit for the dunghill which is Hell or the Lake of Fire, so they are cast out. Out where?

Rev 21: MKJV  
24 And the nations of those who are saved will walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.  
26 And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.  
27 And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defiles, or any making an abomination or a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

Rev 22: NKJV  
2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.  
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie

These scriptures are talking about New Jerusalem, the city of God, which is in heaven and shall come upon the new earth when all is done. Those who are saved and are not in the Kingdom are outside the city. Their glories or treasures are brought in, but they are not allowed inside themselves. Inside the city is the Tree of Life and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. To enter you must obey God's commandments.


Some people refuse to believe the "outer darkness" refers to this place nor that the "outer darkness" is for any type of christian.

Where does the phrase "Outer Darkness" come from? It is mentioned 3 times in the Bible: Math 8:12, Math 22:13, Math 25:30.

Math 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
 13 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.
 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Math 25:14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
 26 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:
 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
 29 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.
 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Spiro Zodhiates, a Greek scholar, in the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible speaks on this issue. By the way, the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible is my favorite Bible. I have owned 2 in my life. I enjoy it because some words have numbers behind them, and in the back of the Bible you can look up those numbers and read the actual definition/meaning of the word in the original Hebrew or Greek. Anyways, here is what Spiro Zodhiates says in that Bible in the notes of Math 8:11-12:

The expression "outer darkness" in Matthew 25:30 occurs at the end of the parable of the talents which emphasizes the necessity of serving Christ faithfully. However, the "outer darkness" of Matthew 25:30 may not refer to Ge'ena... Others say that this parable does not refer to all to be unbelievers or hypocrites but to the believers who neglect to exercise their God-given talents. The Lord calls such a servent (wicked ...4190) (Matt. 25:26) and (cursed 2672) (Matt. 25:41) despite the fact that he is one of the Lord's servants. This is similiar to the instance where the Lord called Peter "Satan" (Matthew 16:23). Hence, these terms may also be applied to believers who have failed the Lord in their service. The words of Paul in I Corinthians 3:10-15 are in full support of the fact that the works of faith as servants will be tried by fire. Therefore, in this instance, the "outer darkness" may be a reference to a place of position of far less rewards for the servants who proved themselves less diligent than those who used who used and exercised their talents to the fullest. The expression would then refer to degrees of the enjoyment in heaven rather than referring to hell. This teaching of varied rewards is part and parcel of the inherent doctrine of the NT that neither heaven nor hell are experienced equally by all because this would anull the justice of God. Entrance into heaven in gained by accepting Christ's sacrifice for justification but a person's rewards in heaven will be determined by what he did for Christ on earth (Matt 5:3-12, 7:21-23, 10:15, Luke 6:20-26, 12:47-48, Acts 10:4, 31, Romans 2:1-16, 14:10-23, I Cor 3:13, 4:5, II Cor 5:10, I John 4:17, Revelation 20:11-15). The Christian's faithfulness to his tasks and responsibilities in the world is considered of such paramount importance that the same metaphor, the "outer darkness," that was used by the Lord to indicate the punishment of the unbeliever for his rejection of God's salvation is used of the believer who does not live in obedience to the light he has received. In the case of the non-believer, it will be punishment of fire and burning (Matt. 13:30; John 15:6). In the case of the believer, it will be weeping or expressing sorrow over not having used the opportunities God provided. Though his tears will be wiped away (Rev. 7:17; 21:4), he will nonetheless suffer a loss of reward. The phrase "gnashing of teeth" indicates anger at oneself for ignoring the marvelous opportunities that he had on earth. The same emotional attitude will be expressed by the unbeliever, but in his case, he will be weeping about the lost opportunity and genuine and true repentance followed by works of repentance. "Gnashing of teeth," in the case of the unbeliever, refers to being angry at oneself because he did not decide to go through the narrow gate and live in the straight way when he had the opportunity.

I stumbled upon this when studying my Bible as I had concluded similarly on my own studies, although I am no Greek scholar. So I share what an actual Greek scholar says on the subject as well.

The phrase "Outer Darkness" is sometimes equated with the word "Gehenna" which is often translated as Hell or Hades. And I discussed this on the page Eternal Judgment: of the Believer:

The page quotes another website which quotes G.H. Pember.

G.H. Pember
is a famous English theologian and rather than repost the statement, what he is saying in more common english is that Gehenna is both a spiritual and literal place. And that it was known and understood by the Jews that it was used as a place of punishment not just for the Gentile nations (the nonbelieving Jews), but also for the Jews as well, as seen in Jer. 7:30-33.

Thus the "outer darkness" can be used to describe hell for the unbelievers or outside New Jerusalem for believers.

One source translates "outer darkness" for us:


The phrase outer darkness literally means, “outside, where there’s no light”. The Greek word for darkness can be used metaphorically to mean obscurity, which is the condition of being unknown. And there’s also a sense in which spiritual ignorance or blindness can apply.

And while the above author disagrees or doesn't know which I have shared here, he does a good job defining the word(s). As those christians outside New Jerusalem are spiritual ignorant, as I describe here:

The 2 & a Half Tribes that didn't Cross Over

Ignorant comes from the word "ignore" and one cannot ignore God or His ways and not suffer loss.

The question arises when we look at the words "Gehenna" and "Outer Darkness", will those unfruitful christians will be in some aweful place? But is that true?  Even Spiro Zodhiates, the Greek scholar I quoted above stated:  Though his tears will be wiped away (Rev. 7:17; 21:4)

We must not forget scripture does say there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But I also shared scriptures above that say:

Rev 22: NKJV  
2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  

And I agree with Spiro Zodhiates on this scripture:

 Re 21:1 ¶ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

So while there may be weeping and gnashing teeth, there will be healing, the wiping away of tears, and no more pain. But once again, only after a trial by fire:

Mark 9: MKJV
49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

1 Cor 3: 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
 16 ¶ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

I discuss ths judgment here:

Eternal Judgment: of the Believer

While I and others may point out to the judgment nature of the "Outer Darkness", it is not just that. It is also place of rest and beauty. And I share that here:

NDE's and Visions

Thus the judgment was balanced with glory when I 1st heard the testimony of Oden Hetrick, who has visited heaven and described it, including the outside of New Jerusalem. Please read that page and watch the video!

I believe the Lake of Fire exists outside the city of heaven to be seen by all believers there, just as Pember describes the the Valley of Gehenna outside earth's Jerusalem as a burning garbage pit. I do not believe that the fire that tried the believers remains (or will remain), but is a temporary judgment that will occur and be done. Also, that it is not a place (no purgatory). Once again, read more here:

Eternal Judgment: of the Believer

But, those believers who were tried in the fire and found wanting, will remain outside the city. And that place is beautiful and glorious. Nevertheless:

 2 Tim 2:19 ¶ Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
 22 ¶ Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Luke 14: NKJV  
34 "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  
35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"  

I continue this discussion, but focusing on those who are found in the Outer Darkness here:

Outer Darkness Part 2


Links of Interest:

On this website:

Outer Darkness Part 2
The Absence of the Wedding Garment
The Gospel of the Kingdom vs. The Gospel of Salvation
Eternal Judgment: of the Believer
The 2 & a Half Tribes that didn't Cross Over
NDE's and Visions

Other websites:
Worthy of the Kingdom
The Outer Darkness vs the Kingdom

I have put together a video, with the end result of this webapge and others to it's doctrinal conclusion. here is that video:
The Winepress Judgment:


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