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Where is Outer Darkness
The term outer darkness is used 3 times in the Book of Matthew.  But where is this place,
and is it even a place.  The stories surrounding it are quite serious and indicate a place
where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, obviously a situation we would want to
avoid.  Let's break this down and see what the Bible actually says about outer darkness.  
Here are the three scriptures from Matthew.  
​​​​​Matthew 22   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.  So 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, the
bad as well as the good, 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.  He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’
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.’

Matthew 8  When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.  
“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”  Jesus said to him,
“Shall I come 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 amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, 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.”
Matthew 25   “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and
entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to
another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  The man
who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five
bags more.  So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.  But the man who had
received one bag 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 five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you
entrusted me with five bags of gold. 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

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two
bags of gold; 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

Then the man who had received one bag of gold 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 gold 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.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.  For whoever
has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even
what they have will be taken from them.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the
darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Before we discuss these passages let's look at the meaning of the words used.  Weeping
and gnashing of teeth only mean that so that is self explanatory.  Darkness however refers
to spiritual darkness and also physical darkness.  The same word (4655) is used for both.  
Here are some examples from scripture of spiritual and physical darkness.
Physical Darkness:  Matthew 27:45   45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness
came over all the land.

Acts 2:20   The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of
the great and glorious day of the Lord.
Spiritual Darkness:  Ephesians 5:8   For you were once darkness, but now you are light in
the Lord. Live as children of light

Matthew 6:22-23   “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole
body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of
darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Luke 11:34-36   Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole
body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.

Luke 22:53   Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the
elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords
and clubs?  Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on
me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

John 3:19   This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness
instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Acts 26:17-18   I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending
you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power
of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who
are sanctified by faith in me.’

2 Corinthians 6:14  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness
and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Ephesians 6:12   For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual
forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Colossians 1:12-13   For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Now that we see what darkness refers to we can more easily understand what Jesus meant
when he spoke about being thrown into outer darkness or darkness.  He meant spiritual
darkness, and it's not a place, it's a condition.  Believers were all in darkness at one time
but were still in the same place.  When they believed in Jesus they turned from darkness to
light.  This is what is meant by the phrase "I saw the light".  

Jesus was speaking to the Jews and they understood the absolute horror of being thrown
out of the community or being not allowed into the temple.  Their entire existence was
dependent on those two things.   Being thrown out of either would have been like being
thrown to the wolves with no chance of redemption.  So they understood what he meant.  
Let's look more closely at each of these passages.  In Matthew 22, the king threw a
banquet and invited many guests.  But they ignored him and went about their business.  
The king was enraged and destroyed them and their city.  He then told his servants to
invite other guests.  They did and brought in the good and the bad.  The king could tell by
one man's clothes that he was an imposter.   The king allowed the good and bad people to
stay, but threw out the imposter into outer darkness.

I believe Jesus was telling the Jews that God has first invited the Jews to accept his son,
but they not only ignored him, they also killed him.  So God punished them and invited the
Gentiles and many good and bad accepted his invitation.  But among them were some
impostors and hypocrites.  God confronted them and cast them out as they were not true
believers.  Jesus again confirmed this in Matthew 8, the Jews who did not accept him
would be cast out because of their unbelief even though Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, their
own ancestors would be there.  

Matthew 25 is a story of 2 servants that love their master and one that does not.  He thinks
his master is a cruel and unfair man.  Therefore, he does not want to do anything good for
his master or use any of his efforts to do so.  He was not thrown out because he did not
make his master any money, but because he did not love or trust his master.  This too was
a lesson for the Jews.  How much did they really love God or his son?  

These passages also speak to us today of our relationship with God and Jesus.  Unless we
love God with all our heart, all our strength, all our mind, in the final judgment will we miss
out on spending eternity with God like these parables show us?
Notice these scriptures from Matthew 13.  This is after the 1000 year reign of Christ when
the final judgment occurs.  Jesus again uses the terms weeping and gnashing of teeth but
this time he's referring to the lake of fire.  

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The
Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything
that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where
there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and
caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then
they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how
it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the
righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and
gnashing of teeth.
Outer darkness is not a place, it's spiritual darkness.  Some may think they are saved, but
their hearts may be far from God, living for "me" instead of living for God.  Jesus warned
the Jews about this and he is also warning us.  They may be able to fool others now, but
they will Not be able to fool God when they stand before him.