WHAT IS OUTER DARKNESS?
"Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast (eject) him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 23:13
This is a difficult concept to understand, but not impossible. To lay the foundation of what this is talking about we have to understand that this earth will someday perish and will become a place of darkness and desolation. You've heard the Bible talk about a new heavens and a new earth...that is because the old heavens and earth will perish.
Over time, the earth changes constantly. It is not at all like it was 1 million years ago. And, this earth in time will change and change again and eventually expire and God will roll it up like an old discarded housecoat. He will change the heavens and the earth up, just like you would change your shirt. "You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed." Scientists and astronomers are well aware that in time, even our own sun will eventually "wear out", explode and swallow up the earth. This earth is temporary. But, no worries, God had a way around that, as we will see.
Hebrews 1:10-14 explains the temporary nature of the earth and the heavens.
"In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." NIV
This is a difficult concept for human beings. This exact world as we know it, will someday be dark and lifeless...but God and those who follow him and are faithful and obedient, will remain. The earth will wear out like an old pair of jeans... It will be a place of darkness...it will become the "outer darkness" that Jesus spoke of. A lifeless dark world where only the eternally dead abide.
THE PERISHED EARTH WILL BE "OUTER DARKNESS"
Matt 22:13 speaks of it. "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast (eject) him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. KJV
Because of this phrase, "cast him into outer darkness", some teach that those cast into outer darkness will be cast into outer space, but that is not what the word darkness means...it simply means "shade, a shadow...darkness"---but it does not mean space. This same Greek word which is translated darkness, is also translated shadow in the example where Peter's shadow passed over some people waiting to be healed. So evidently, it is certainly not talking about casting someone into space.
The word "outer" here means exterior, like the exterior of a house. ...ON THE OUTSIDE. Can one be on the outside of what God is doing? Yes they can. What does this mean? To find the answer to that. (So we can avoid doing it.) We first have to understand the concept of resurrections. Through a resurrection, we can be moved into another realm...
I was thinking of something I told my daughter a couple of years before she died... We were talking about what happens to people when they die. I told her it is like "jumping from one world to the next." That literally it would feel like closing your eyes and a split second later you would be in a different world, even though in reality, the time between the two could be 1000 years or more. Little did I know that she would die in a car accident a couple of years later. But I well remember that conversation.
The truth is, whether we die by growing old, or due to an accident, or we perish from a fatal disease, it is not over for us. In effect, we can jump ship out of this world into a different realm...into God's realm through a resurrection. We will all have to depart this world eventually. This world seems like a permanent place, but it is far from it.
ESCAPE THROUGH A RESURRECTION!...
The word resurrection is mentioned 41 times in the New Testament. It is important to understand this concept. It is a foundational teaching of Christ, listed in Hebrews 6. It was the teaching of the early church that was hated the most. They were killed for this belief, thrown in jail, and beaten, all because they believed in the resurrection of the dead. It is for teaching the resurrection that Paul was arrested!
He said in court, "Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day." Acts 24:21
Acts 4:1-3 says that this is the issue that got the disciples thrown in jail. "And as they (the disciples) spoke to the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold (jail) unto the next day: for it was now eventide. KJV
FIRST RESURRECTION?.....then there must be a second one!
The apostle John in the book of Revelation explains that there are in fact, two resurrections. In Chapter 20:5-6 he says, "Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."
From this we see, that obviously, the first resurrection is a better one. It is a resurrection to eternal life. It is for people who have already committed themselves to God and His government, they are already on the inside track with God, and because of that, they will be made into eternal spirit beings at the return of Christ to rule with him for a 1000 years. (The millennium) This is where some of the human race will be moved into God's realm. The dead in Christ will rise at this time...the saints, the converted! In other words, at the return of Christ, those that have God's Spirit and are converted will come up in the first resurrection. And, obviously, if there is a first resurrection, then there has to be a second one. Revelation 20:12-15 describes it.
SECOND RESURRECTION!! THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT!
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. KJV
ALL WHO HAVE EVER LIVED WILL BE RESURRECTED AT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT...and given a chance to have eternal life too, but they will never rule in the Kingdom of God. That is only given to those in the first resurrection. They will rule with Christ for a thousand years.
But, everyone will be given a chance to be on the inside of God's permanent Kingdom through a resurrection. Our goal is to live our human life out the best that we can, we learn a few lessons and when God is ready, we go to His realm. We literally jump from one world into the next. But, I'm like everyone else, I'm not in any hurry to go. Our purpose is to learn all that we can about how to be a good human being and to learn God's ways. We all have a lot to learn yet.
For sure, when we die, we will come up in one of 2 resurrections as spoken of by the Apostle John in Revelation, and, since the dead know not anything, when we close our eyes in death, it will truly seem as if we have jumped from one world into the next---in a split second...as the Bible says, in the twinkling of an eye.
We will all have our opportunity to come up inside of God's realm. The best way is for a person to choose to live by God's system now, to keep the Sabbath, the Holy Days, to keep the food laws and all of God's judgments about how to live, and when our natural death comes or Christ returns, we will get a better deal from God...the first resurrection.
All the rest, small and great, will come up in the second resurrection and have the opportunity then to have their names put in the book of life, they will have opportunity at that time to make a final decision to either get with God's system or be cast into outer darkness...which is eternal death, on a dead planet.
We have free moral agency and we can reject God and His system...but why? He is the best, and His system is most wonderful! Why would one want to reject eternal life in a total utopia and prefer to be cast outside of God's realm into outer darkness, and "permanently non-exist." God forbid. Thankfully, very few will want that option, most will get with God's program and exist in a permanent Kingdom of God, in a world that will finally know righteousness.
The Better Resurrection
Are You Ready for the Return of Christ?
Church of God
Published By: The Churches Of God Copyright