Matthew 25:41
Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(41) Ye cursed.—The omission of the words “of My Father,” which might have seemed necessary to complete the parallelism with Matthew 25:34, is every way significant. He is not the author of the curse. Those who have brought themselves under the curse by their own evil deeds He no longer acknowledges as His.

Matthew 25:41-43. Then shall he say to them on the left hand — In this account of our Lord’s proceedings at this awful time, the absolution of the righteous is represented as taking place before the condemnation of the wicked, to show that God takes greater delight in rewarding than in punishing. Depart from me — In this world they were often called to come to Christ, to come for life and rest; but they turned a deaf ear to his calls; justly, therefore, are they bid to depart from him, who would not come to him. Depart from me, the Fountain of all good; from me, the Saviour, and therefore from all hope of salvation; I will never have any thing more to say to you, or do with you. But if they must depart from Christ, might they not be dismissed with a blessing? with one kind and compassionate word at least? No: Depart, ye cursed — They that would not come to Christ to inherit a blessing, must depart from him under the burden of a curse, the curse of the law, due to every one that breaks it; and that of the gospel, which belongs to all that disobey it. But observe, Christ calls the righteous the blessed of his Father; for their blessedness is owing purely to the grace of God: but the wicked are called only, ye cursed, for their damnation is entirely of themselves. Into everlasting fire, prepared — Not originally for you: you are intruders into this everlasting misery; but for the devil and his angels — This declaration of our Lord, compared with Matthew 25:34, where the kingdom of heaven is expressly said to be prepared for the righteous, seems to have been intended to teach us that God’s original design was to make men happy, and that their becoming miserable is the effect of their own voluntary iniquity and perverseness, in rejecting the counsel of God against themselves. No sooner was man created, than a state of consummate felicity was formed for him and his posterity. But the fire of hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, namely, after their fall: and because wicked men partake with devils in their sin of rebellion against God, they are doomed to share with them in their punishment. Perhaps, also, the fire of hell is here said to be made for the devil and his angels, to intimate the greatness of the misery to which sinners dying in sin shall be consigned. The punishment which they shall suffer is of the heaviest kind, being the punishment of devils.25:31-46 This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.On the left hand - The wicked.

Ye cursed - That is, you who are devoted to destruction, whose characters deserve everlasting punishment, and who are about to enter into it. "To curse" is the opposite of "to bless." It implies a negation of all the blessings of heaven, and a positive infliction of eternal sufferings.

Everlasting fire - "Fire," here, is used to denote punishment. The image is employed to express extreme suffering, as a death by burning is one of the most horrible that can be conceived. The image was taken, probably, from the fires burning in the Valley of Hinnom. See the notes at Matthew 5:22. It has been asked whether the wicked will be burned in literal fire, and the common impression has been that they will be. Respecting that, however, it is to be observed:

1. that the main truth intended to be taught refers not to the manner of suffering, but to the certainty and intensity of it.

2. that the design, therefore, was to present an image of terrific and appalling suffering - an image well represented by fire

3. that this image was well known to the Jews Isaiah 66:24, and therefore expressed the idea in a very strong manner.

4. that all the truth that Christ intended to convey appears to be expressed in the certainty, intensity, and eternity of future torment.

5. that there is no distinct affirmation respecting the mode of that punishment, where the mode was the subject of discourse.

6. that to us it is a subject of comparatively little consequence what will be the mode of punishment.

The fact that the wicked will be eternally punished, cursed of God, should awe every spirit, and lead every man to strive most earnestly to secure his salvation. As, however, the "body" will be raised, it is not unreasonable to suppose that a mode of punishment will be adopted suited to the body - perhaps bearing some analogy to suffering here, in its various forms of flames, and racks, and cold, and heat, and disease, and ungratified desire, and remorse - perhaps the concentration of all earthly woes, all that makes man miserable here, poured upon the naked body and spirit of the wicked in hell forever and ever.

Prepared for the devil - The devil is the prince of evil spirits. This place of punishment was suited for him when he rebelled against God, Jde 1:6; Revelation 12:8-9.

His angels - His messengers, his servants, or those angels that he drew off from heaven by his rebellion, and whom he has employed as his "messengers" to do evil. The word may extend also to all his followers - fallen angels or people. There is a remarkable difference between the manner in which the righteous will be addressed, and the wicked. Christ will say to the one that the kingdom was prepared for them; to the other, that the fire was not prepared for "them," but for another race of beings. they will inherit it because they have the same character "as the devil," and are therefore suited to the same place - not because it was originally "prepared for them."

41.Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, &c.—As for you on the left hand, ye did nothing for Me. I came to you also, but ye knew Me not: ye had neither warm affections nor kind deeds to bestow upon Me: I was as one despised in your eyes." "In our eyes, Lord? We never saw Thee before, and never, sure, behaved we so to Thee." "But thus ye treated these little ones that believe in Me and now stand on My right hand. In the disguise of these poor members of Mine I came soliciting your pity, but ye shut up your bowels of compassion from Me: I asked relief, but ye had none to give Me. Take back therefore your own coldness, your own contemptuous distance: Ye bid Me away from your presence, and now I bid you from Mine—Depart from Me, ye cursed!" See Poole on "Matthew 25:45". Then shall he also say unto them on his left hand,.... The goats, the foolish virgins, and slothful and wicked servants,

depart from me: a like expression is used by him to preachers of the word, and professors of religion, that are mere nominal ones. Matthew 7:23 and such are intended here, who professed to be on Christ's side, had been in his visible church, and hoped to have been with him for ever; but having nothing but the lamp of a profession, and some external works to trust to, they are bid to be gone from him; they are banished his presence, which is what is commonly called the punishment of loss; the loss of the presence of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, angels, and saints; and is thought to be greater than the punishment of sense, hereafter expressed. The character given of them, which is the reverse of the former, is,

ye cursed; for having sinned against God, and his righteous law, they are cursed by it, which curses everyone that is under its works, as these were, and do not perfectly fulfil whatsoever it requires; and so were justly rejected of God, and hated by him: and therefore are condemned and sent,

into everlasting fire: by which is meant, the wrath of God; and the phrase expresses the intolerable fierceness of it, and its perpetual continuance; the sense of which, without intermission, will ever be felt in the conscience; and is the punishment of sense, the wicked will for ever endure: it may also intend the pit and prison of hell, where these torments will be for ever inflicted; and so hell is called by the Jews (k), the hell , "eternal fire", or "everlasting burning": and is here said to be

prepared for the devil and his angels; for Satan, or Beelzebub, the prince of devils, and all his principalities and powers under him: it is not said to be prepared for these persons, though it was, and who were foreordained to this condemnation, but for the devil and his angels; showing, that the same punishment will be inflicted on hypocrites and carnal professors, as on the devils themselves; and it is indeed of such, that the devouring fire, and everlasting burnings are spoken, in Isaiah 33:14, to which this passage seems to have some respect; for no where else is mention made of this everlasting fire: it is not said neither when it was prepared. It is a notion of the Jews (l), that the angels were created on the second day; and it should seem by them, that they fell the same day; hence it is a prevailing opinion among them (m), that hell was made on the second day of the creation; though at, other times, they reckon hell among the seven things which were created before the world was (n), and which may be reconciled together: for as heaven, the place of the saints' happiness, was prepared from the foundation of the world, or on the first day of its creation, though the happiness itself was provided long before; so hell, the place of the torments of the devils and wicked, though it was not made or prepared until the second day of the creation, when, according to this opinion, the angels were made and fell; yet the punishment they were to endure there, was appointed before the world was; and so hell is said to.

, "be ordained from eternity", because of their sins (o),

(k) Targum in Isaiah 33.14. (l) Targum Jon. in Gen. i. 26. Pirke Eliezer, c. 4. (m) Targum in Cant. viii. 6. T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 54. 1. Zohar in Gen. fol. 13. 3. & 30. 2. & in Exod. fol. 61. 4. & in Deut. fol. 120. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 4. fol. 4. 1. & sect. 21. fol. 19. 1. Shemot Rabba, sect. 15. fol. 101. 4. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 1. 2. & 121. & 1. 2. & 130. 3.((n) T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 54. 1. & Nedar. fol. 39. 2. Zokar in Lev. fol. 14. 4. Targum Jon. in Genesis 3.24. (o) Targum in Isaiah 30.33.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 25:41. Οἱ κατηραμένοι] opposite of οἱ εὐλογημένοι. This consigning to everlasting destruction is also a reality, and the doing of God. But the words τοῦ πατρός μου are omitted this time, because the idea of πατήρ accords only with the loving act of blessing. The divine κατάρα, is the effect of holy wrath and the consequence of human guilt.

τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον] not this time ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου; this the hearer knew as matter of course. The Rabbins are not agreed as to whether Gehenna, any more than paradise and the heavenly temple, came into existence before or after the first day of creation. See the passages in Wetstein. From our passage nothing can be determined one way or another, especially as it is not the aorist participle that is made use of. Observe, however, that, in this instance, Jesus does not follow up ἡτοιμασμ. with ὑμῖν, as in Matthew 25:34, but with τῷ διαβόλῳ, κ.τ.λ.; because the fall of the angels (Judges 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4), which Scripture everywhere presupposes in its doctrine of the devil and his kingdom (Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 313 ff.), took place previous to the introduction of sin among men (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3), so that it was for the former in the first instance that the everlasting fire was prepared; comp. Matthew 8:29. But as men became partakers in the guilt of demons, so now are they also condemned to share in their punishment. For ἄγγελοι τοῦ διαβ., comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7; Revelation 12:7.Matthew 25:41-46. κατηραμένοι, cursed, not the cursed (οἱ wanting), and without τοῦ πατρός μου. God has no cursed ones.—εἰς τὸ πῦρ, etc., the eternal fire is represented as prepared not for the condemned men, but for the devil and his angels. Wendt brackets the clause κατηραμένοιἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ to suggest that as Jesus spoke it the passage ran: go away from me, for I was hungry, etc.Matthew 25:41. Τότε, κ.τ.λ., then, etc.) And then the righteous shall immediately, by virtue of the word “come.” sit on kindly thrones (regaliter) as assessors in the judgment on the cursed.—τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον, which is prepared) Thus is Isaiah 30:33. At the time of this judgment the devil will be already in hell; see Revelation 20:10-13; cf. 2 Peter 3:7, fin.Verse 41. - Unto them on the left hand. The sentence on these is comprised in vers. 41-45. It is conveyed in terms parallel to that on the righteous; but how infinite the difference! Depart from me! Not "Come!" (ver. 34). What a world of misery is contained in this word, "Depart"! As the light of God's countenance is happiness, so banishment from his presence is utter woe. What it implies we know not; we will not attempt to imagine. God preserve us from ever knowing! Ye cursed. He had called the righteous, "blessed of my Father;" he does not term these, "cursed of my Father," because God willeth not the death of a sinner. "Not he laid the curse upon them, but their own works" (St. Chrysostom, in loc.). It was no part of God's design that any of his creatures should suffer this misery. "God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things, that they might have their being...but ungodly men with their words and works called death unto them" (Wisd. 1:13, etc.). Into everlasting fire (τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον, the fire which is even lasting). To the poignant regret for the loss of happiness and of the presence of God there is added physical anguish, expressed metaphorically by the term "fire." This is called everlasting, and however in these days of compromise we may seek to minimize or modify the attribute, it was so understood by our Lord's hearers (see below on ver. 46). Prepared for the devil and his angels. This region or sphere of torment was not, as the kingdom of the righteous, prepared for man originally; it was particularly designed (τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον) for Satan and his myrmidons (see 2 Peter 2:4, 9), and will not be perfected till the last judgment (Revelation 20:10). There is no hint of its being remedial or corrective; and what it is to the devil it must be to those who share it with him. It is man's own doing that he is unfit for the company of saints and angels, and, having made himself like unto the evil spirits by rebellion and hatred of good, he must consort with them and share their doom. It seems as though there were no proper place for man's punishment; there is no book of death corresponding to the book of life (Revelation 20:12, etc.); the wicked are in an anomalous state, and, shut out by their own action from their proper inheritance, fall into the society of demons. How to reconcile this destiny, which seems inconceivably terrible, with God's mercy, love, and justice, has always proved a stumbling block to free thinkers. It is, indeed, a mystery which we cannot understand, and which Christ has purposely left unexplained. We can only bow the head and say, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).
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