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Q: “What is outer darkness?”

Q: “What is outer darkness?”

A: There are three main scriptures about outer darkness found in Matthew 8:12;
22:13; and 25:30. Darkness can only be observed when there is an absence of light
because in certain situations even darkness is light to some people (Matthew 6:22-23).
Spiritually there is the gnawing darkness of hell and the tormenting fiery flames of the
Lake of Fire that are considered outer darkness. However, there are three different
lights. In order to do justice to this question I must also state there are three types of
darkness. There is physical darkness which points to the lack of some type of physical
light whether it be the sun, the moon, the stars, or the artificial light of man.

There is the dark night of the soul, which is brought on by affliction caused by
loss, pain, or emotional trauma. At such times there appears to be no real light of hope.
For the saint this points to a time of testing where understanding is missing, distress is
present, and depression is close at hand, but faith is present to endure the long night of
wrestling in light of truth and promises. For unbelievers it often is described as
hopelessness where one sees no way out of the darkness that is engulfing the soul.

The heaviness can be so unbearable and far-reaching that it makes one feel as if they
are teetering on the edge of insanity because nothing makes sense. At such a time, all
they want to do is run away from it, but there is nowhere to run. The heaviness will
follow and eventually catch up with them and it will taunt, mock, and cause them to go
down into an emotional whirlpool of despair.

The third type of darkness is that of spiritual darkness, where there is no life
present. It is where the spirit is lifeless and the soul is dead in sin. It creates an isolation
that at times can be tormenting, a driving force that makes one restless and relentless in
vain pursuits, as well as fearful of the present that is overwhelming and the future that is
hopeless in light of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).

We are told that Jesus is the light of the world. The truth is, everything outside of the
light of God is outer darkness because it operates according to the fading, temporary
glitter of the world, false lights of philosophies and man-made religions, or the
counterfeit light of Satan. Those who prefer darkness operate in the night to hide their
deeds, strive to create the dark night of the soul in others while they become tyrants that
rage against real light as they oppress others, and their spirit is enfolded by the
darkness of the god of this world who has blinded them to the true light of Christ (John
1:1-8; 3:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:3-7; 11:2-15; Colossians 2:8).

The outer darkness entails all three types of darkness. There will be no physical
light to see by in this darkness of total isolation, and the darkness of the soul will cause
great torment and despair for there is no light of hope to cling too. And, when it comes
to the spirit, there is no life to be found in the darkness. It is nothing but complete ruin,
endless torment and the thick enfolding of the decaying works of darkness that causes
mankind to weep and gnash their teeth because of tasting the isolation of spiritual
death, while experiencing the complete ruin of the utter destruction of the soul.

We are told in Matthew 8:12 that the children of darkness shall be cast out into
outer darkness. Why should this surprise us since they hate the real light and prefer
darkness? In Matthew 22:13, we see that a man who tried to get into the kingdom of
God on his own merits (dress) was cast into outer darkness. It is true many strive to
enter in but will not. This shows us man has a choice but if he chooses his own religious darkness, he will miss being part of the real celebration that will occur at the marriage
supper of the Lamb (Luke 13:24; Revelation 19:7-9).

In the final one in Matthew 25:30, we see the goats are separated from the sheep.
This is in reference to those who lack of the life of the Spirit in real service to the Lord.
People can be religious, but few have the love of God to be a servant to all. It is for this
reason Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy
name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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