Study of Matthew 25 ~ My answers to study questions
13. Matthew 25:41, 46 The Greek word aiónios is often translated as “eternal” and “everlasting”. The definition according to Strong’s Concordance is age-long, and therefore: practically eternal, unending; partaking of the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting. There is no time limit or end.
a. Hell—The eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels is eternal (everlasting, perpetual) punishment. (It was never intended for humans.)
Heaven—Eternal life—interestingly, according to Helps Word Studies, eternal “[166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age(165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. (Note the Gk presenttense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]”
So, as believers, eternal life begins at the same instant new birth occurs. Awesome!
However, the question and the verse itself seems to indicate something outside of our current human life. But aren’t those in hell also still “alive”?
Jesus did say He came so that we may have life. I got off on a bit of a rabbit trail here, but I don’t like to assume the verse says something it doesn’t specifically say.
b. Aspects of heaven:
- Matthew 25:10—There will be a wedding feast behind closed doors for the guests who were ready when the bridegroom arrived.
- Matthew 25:21,23—The righteous will be rewarded with more honor, more joy, and a promotion for their faithfulness.
- Matthew 25:34—We will received as heirs. We will inherit the kingdom prepared for us by our heavenly Father.
Aspects of hell:
- Matthew 25:12—Rejection—To those who were not ready when the bridegroom arrived, He will say, “I assure you: I do not know you.” (HCSB)
- Matthew 25:30—Outer darkness—”outside the heavenly city, excluded from its joyous nuptials and gladsome festivities—is sad enough of itself, without anything else. But to find themselves not only excluded from the brightness and glory and joy and felicity of the kingdom above, but thrust into a region of “darkness,” with all its horrors, this is the dismal retribution here announced, that awaits the unworthy at the great day.” Weeping and gnashing of teeth—”the “wailing” signifying the anguish this causes; while the “gnashing of teeth” is a graphic way of expressing the despair in which its remedilessness issues (see Mt 8:12)!” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
- Matthew 25:41—Eternal fire—In the book of Revelation, it is described as a lake of fire. So it must be a blue flame—very hot indeed.
14. a. Similarities in the three parables:
- Look forward with great anticipation to the return of our bridegroom.
- Lay up rewards and treasures in heaven by ministering to those who need a physical representation of God’s love. By so doing, we are ministering to Jesus.
- Intercede for and reach out to as many as possible so that they too will not perish but have eternal life.
b. Hell was not prepared for human beings. Heaven was. God made every provision necessary for us to enjoy eternal life with Him. He beckons us to come to Him—all who are weary and heavy-laden, and He will give us rest.
Update from lecture notes: Jesus’ judgment is right because it is based on inward reality, not outward appearances. We must develop a right relationship.
15. The emphasis of this chapter is the end of the age and Jesus’ second coming. He tells us about it so we know how to be watchful and ready, and we understand the importance of making disciples.
Whenever I read passages such as these—especially in conjunction with these questions—I begin to feel condemned and unworthy. However—No One is. That’s why Jesus came, taught, fed and healed the sick, suffered, died, and resurrected thereby conquering death. He is worthy…that’s why we praise Him!