The Darkness Outside
ADDITION: For MORE on this subject, see my blog here:
The Judgment Seat of Christ : The Bema Seat of Christ
And see the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society:
A Call to the Wedding Celebration: An Exposition of Matthew 22:1-14
The 'Outer Darkness' in Matthew and its Relationship to Grace
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."' But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"For many are called, but few are chosen."
1) Jesus is speaking in parabolic language; is telling a parable.
2) The guest without a wedding garment (from now on GWWG) is distinguished from those who “were not willing to come” in verses 11:3-8, who were destroyed by the army of the King.
3) GWWG, who was invited to the wedding feast, was both willing to come and obviously accepted the invitation.
4) GWWG in the kingdom, for he is found in the wedding feast, having responded affirmatively to the wedding invitation.
5) As far as my eschatology goes, there will be no unsaved people at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. GWWG was willing to come, accepted the invitation, and in the parable, is found in the kingdom.
6) At the judgment of the Sheep and Goats, all unsaved people will have been weeded out (Matt 25:31-46). Here in the parable, “the king… sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matt 22:7-8), which is a picture of the judgment of the goats, the lost. GWWG is not in this group.
7) The interpretation that the wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ is untenable considering the above: GWWG is willing to come, accepted the invitation, is in the kingdom, is distinguished from those who were destroyed.
8) The GWWG did not prepare himself and come to the feast in the proper wedding garment. This wedding garment is not the righteousness of Christ but his own preparation of himself. The wedding garment corresponds to the Christian’s perseverance in faithfulness and works:
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
The wedding garments here in Rev 19:8 “is the righteous acts of the saints.” This understanding fits the context much better in Matt 22.
9) The wedding feast in this parable corresponds to Jesus Christ’s intimate band of overcoming companions who will co-rule/co-reign with Him forever. To be in the wedding feast is to be identified with the fellowship of reigning servant kings with Christ, based upon their faithful endurance until the end of their Christian lives.
10) GWWG did not prepare himself for the wedding feast (for the intimate band and fellowship of co-rulers with Christ). He is not allowed into this fellowship but is thrown out into the “darkness outside” (to skotos to exoteron). This is parabolic language. In biblical times wedding feasts were held at night in well-lit banquet halls. This man is thrown outside of the banquet hall, into the darkness that resides outside the banquet hall. This corresponds to the fact that the Christian who doesn’t prepare himself for his future eternity in the kingdom will be outside of the intimate fellowship of Christ’s servant kings.
11) GWWG is bound hand and foot: this again is parabolic language. This corresponds to the fact that Christians who are unprepared for the special privileges in the kingdom will be under severe restrictions. They will not be allowed to be active for their Lord in the experience of joint-heirship; he will be unable to serve in the Lord’s government.
12) That this will be the experience of those un-prepared Christians who face their Lord at the Bema of Christ, the Judgment Seat of Christ, it is reasonable to see that those who will have such restrictions put on them will be sorrowful, severely remorseful and regretting. They will “weep” and “gnash their teeth”. Such is the oriental expressions of severe sorrow. Such things as this went on in the culture of Jesus’ day when loved one’s died, in other words, when one experienced great loss. To be excluded from Christ’s intimate band of servant kings is to experience incalculable and eternal loss.
For whoever desires to save his life (psuche) will lose it, but whoever loses his life (psuche) for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (life/psuche)? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul(life/psuche)? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
The GWWG figured that saving his life in the present (living for himself) was compensation for losing his life (in the future kingdom). What a tragic and inestimable error! Christ is coming to reward each Christian according to his works, and this man is rewarded with great loss.
Mark puts it this way:
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
Jesus Christ will be ashamed of those Christians who do not prepare themselves with the proper wedding garments; who do not live out life with the proper eternal perspective; who live for self and not for Christ.
1 John 2:28
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
13) “For many are called, but few are chosen”: All Christians are called to the intimate fellowship of Christ’s overcoming co-reigners/co-rulers; Christ’s co-heirs. Yet only those who have prepared themselves for the privilege and opportunity will be chosen.