Matthew 25:46
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

New Living Translation
"And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

English Standard Version
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Berean Study Bible
And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Berean Literal Bible
And these will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life."

New American Standard Bible
"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

King James Bible
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Christian Standard Bible
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Contemporary English Version
Then Jesus said, "Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life."

Good News Translation
These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life."

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

International Standard Version
These people will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

NET Bible
And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

New Heart English Bible
These will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And these will go into eternal torture, and the righteous into eternal life.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"These people will go away into eternal punishment, but those with God's approval will go into eternal life."

New American Standard 1977
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And they shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

King James 2000 Bible
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

American King James Version
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

American Standard Version
And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

Darby Bible Translation
And these shall go away into eternal punishment, and the righteous into life eternal.

English Revised Version
And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

Webster's Bible Translation
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Weymouth New Testament
"And these shall go away into the Punishment of the Ages, but the righteous into the Life of the Ages."

World English Bible
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Young's Literal Translation
And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.'
Study Bible
The Sheep and the Goats
45Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’ 46And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Cross References
Daniel 12:2
And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Matthew 19:16
Just then, a man came up to Jesus and inquired, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain eternal life?"

Matthew 19:29
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of My name will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 25:45
Then the King will answer, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.'

John 3:15
that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him."

John 4:14
But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life."

John 5:24
Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment. Indeed, he has crossed over from death to life.

John 5:29
and come out--those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

John 6:27
Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval."

John 6:40
For it is My Father's will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 17:2
For You granted Him authority over all humanity, so that He may give eternal life to all those You have given Him.

Acts 13:46
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:48
When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

Acts 24:15
and I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

Romans 2:7
To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life.

Romans 5:21
so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 6:8
The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

1 John 5:11
And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

Treasury of Scripture

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, …

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, …

Mark 9:44,46,48,49 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched…

Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: …

John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection …

2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence …

Revelation 14:10,11 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured …

Revelation 20:10,15 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and …

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, …

the righteous.

Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of …

Psalm 16:10,11 For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you suffer your …

John 3:15,16,36 That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life…

John 10:27,28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…

Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and …

Romans 5:21 That as sin has reigned to death, even so might grace reign through …

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life …

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life.

1 John 5:11,12 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and …

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our …

(46) Everlasting punishment . . . life eternal.--The two adjectives represent one and the same Greek word, ????????, and we ought therefore to have the same word in both clauses in the English. Of the two words, "eternal" is philologically preferable, as being traceably connected with the Greek, the Latin aetemus being derived from aetas, and that from aevum, which, in its turn, is but another form of the Greek ???? (aeon). The bearing of the passage on the nature and duration of future punishment is too important to be passed over; and though the question is too wide to be determined by a single text, all that the text contributes to its solution should be fully and fairly weighed. On the one hand, then, it is urged that as we hold the "eternal life" to have no end, so we must hold also the endlessness of the "eternal fire." On the other hand, it must be admitted (1) that the Greek word which is rendered "eternal," does not in itself involve endlessness, but rather duration, whether through an age or a succession of ages; and that it is therefore applied in the New Testament to periods of time that have had both beginning and ending (Romans 16:25, where the Greek is "from aeonian times," our version giving "since the world began"--comp. 2Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2), and in the Greek version of the Old Testament to institutions and ordinances that were confessedly to wax old and vanish away (Genesis 17:8; Leviticus 3:17); and (2) that in the language of a Greek Father (Gregory of Nyssa, who held the doctrine of the restitution of all things) it is even connected with the word "interval," as expressing the duration of the penal discipline which was, he believed, to come to an end after an aeonian intervening period. Strictly speaking, therefore, the word, as such, and apart from its association with any qualifying substantive, implies a vast undefined duration, rather than one in the full sense of the word "infinite." The solemnity of the words at the close of the great prophecy of judgment tends obviously to the conclusion that our Lord meant His disciples, and through them His people in all ages, to dwell upon the division which was involved in the very idea of judgment, as one which was not to be changed. Men must reap as they have sown, and the consequences of evil deeds, or of failure to perform good deeds, must, in the nature of the case, work out their retribution, so far as we can see, with no assignable limit. On the other hand, once again, (1) the symbolism of Scriptural language suggests the thought that "fire" is not necessarily the material element that inflicts unutterable torture on the body, and that the penalty of sin may possibly be an intense and terrible consciousness of the presence of God, who is as a "consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29) in the infinite majesty of His holiness, united with the sense of being at variance with it, and therefore under condemnation. And (2), assuming the perpetuity of the "punishment," it does not involve necessarily an equality of suffering for the whole multitude of the condemned at any time, nor for any single soul throughout its whole duration. Without dwelling, as some have done, on the fact that the Greek word here used for "punishment" had acquired a definite significance as used by ethical writers for reformative rather than vindictive or purely retributive suffering (Aristot. Rhet. i. 10), it is yet conceivable that the acceptance of suffering as deserved may mitigate its severity; and we cannot, consistently with any true thoughts of God, conceive of Him as fixing, by an irresistible decree, the will of any created being in the attitude of resistance to His will. That such resistance is fatally possible we see by a wide and painful experience, and as the "hardening" in such cases is the result of a divine law, it may, from one point of view, be described as the act of God (Romans 9:18); but a like experience attests that, though suffering does not cease to be suffering, it may yet lose something of its bitterness by being accepted as deserved, and the law of continuity and analogy, which, to say the least, must be allowed some weight in our thoughts of the life to come, suggests that it may be so there also. (For other aspects of this momentous question, see Notes on Matthew 5:26; Matthew 18:34.) (3) As to the nature of the "eternal life" which is thus promised to those who follow the guidance of the Light that lighteth every man, we must remember, that within a few short hours of the utterance of these words, it was defined by our Lord in the hearing of those who listened to them: "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). That life in its very nature tends to perpetuity, and it is absolutely inconceivable that after having lasted through the ages which the word "eternal," on any etymological explanation, implies, it should then fail and cease.

Verse 46. - Shall go away. Bengel notes that the King will first address the righteous in the audience of the unrighteous, but these last will be dismissed to their place of punishment before the others actually receive their reward. Thus the evil will see nothing of the life eternal, while the good will be bold the vengeance inflicted on the others (Matthew 13:49). Into everlasting punishment (εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον)... life eternal (everlasting, ζωὴν αἰώνιον). The same term is used in both places, and ought to have been so translated. The word κόλασις in strict classical usage denotes punishment inflicted for the correction and improvement of the offender, τιμωρίΑ being employed to signify punishment in satisfaction of outraged justice, or to revenge an injury. But it is open to doubt whether the former term is to be taken in its strictest sense in the New Testament. A ceaseless controversy rests on the meaning of αἰώνιος, some contending that it signifies "everlasting," and nothing else; others that its sense is modified by the idea to which it is attached; and others again that it ought to be rendered by "aeonian," to which is given an indeterminate signification governed by our conception of the duration expressed by men. This is not the place to discuss this perplexing question, nor shall I attempt to dogmatize upon the problem. Suffice it to make these few observations. On the one hand, taking the literal sense of our Lord's words, and the meaning which his hearers would attach to them, we must believe that the risen life and the second death are equally everlasting (see Judith 16:17; Ecclus. 7:17; 4 Macc. 12:12). And if it is thought that eternity of punishment is incompatible with love and benevolence, and inequitable as the penalty of offences committed in time, it must be remembered that eternity of reward is infinitely beyond all human claims, and bears no proportion to the merits of the recipient. Nor may we reason from our conception of the nature and attributes of God; how these attributes work harmoniously together, though seemingly opposed, we cannot presume to determine. The consequences of sin even in this world are often irretrievable, as are some human punishments. We have no reason to suppose that punishment is inflicted only for the correction of the criminal (see on ver. 41), nor is it possible to conceive how this result could be effected by condemning him to the society of devils. Further, we have to regard the heinousness of sin in God's sight, remembering the infinite price paid for its expiation. And lastly, the doctrine does not depend upon this passage only, but is supported by many other statements in both the Old and New Testaments: e.g. Isaiah 66:24; Daniel 12:2; Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Revelation 21:8. Such are some of the chief arguments in favour of the everlasting nature of future punishment. On the other hand, we have to remark that our Lord is here not concerned with teaching this doctrine of eternity; he assumes the authorized view of the matter, and draws his awful lesson from that view. It is certainly true that the meaning of αἰώνιος is not fixed and uniform; it is conditioned by the term to which it appertains. No one would say that "everlasting" was applied to God and to a mountain in the same sense; and though it seems incongruous to find a difference of meaning in the same sentence, yet there may be reasons for distinguishing the signification of the qualifying adjective in the terms "eternal life" and "eternal punishment." God, indeed, cannot draw back from his promise, but he may be more merciful than the tenor of his threats seems to imply. It is possible that "aeonian" may denote merely indefinite duration without the connotation of never ending. Such like are the pleas brought forward to lessen the plain enunciation of the awful truth. For myself I do not see any escape from the import of the statement, nor any hope of amelioration in the case of the lest, when relegated to the scene of their penal existence (see on Matthew 18:8, 9). But I set no bounds to the Divine mercy and wisdom; and God may see a mode of reconciling his strict justice with his desire of man's salvation, which our finite understanding cannot grasp. All we can say here is that infinite misery and infinite happiness are set before us, and that God has thus shown the two ends without reserve or possible modification, in order that we may be aroused to shun the one and to win the other. "From thy wrath, and from ever lasting damnation, good Lord, deliver us."

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment,.... Their excuses will not be regarded, their pleas will be of no avail, their pretensions to interest in Christ, and love to him, will be set aside; the sentence will remain irrevocable, and there will be no appeal from it, for there is no higher tribunal to bring the cause before; judgment having passed, the execution of it immediately follows: these goats, or formal professors, shall be obliged, whether they will or not, to depart from the presence of Christ; the angels will be ordered to take and cast them into everlasting burnings; they will be driven by them into hell, the place appointed for them; where they shall endure "everlasting punishment", as the Jews (p) also express it; and that both in soul and body, as the just desert of sin; which being committed against an infinite God, cannot be satisfied for by a finite creature; who therefore must ever bear the punishment of it, because its pollution and guilt will always remain:

but the righteous into life eternal; such as are justified by the righteousness of Christ, and who, though they have done works of righteousness under the influence, and by the assistance of the grace of God, yet have not depended upon them, but upon Christ, for life and salvation: these shall go into heaven, the place appointed for them, to enjoy that eternal life in soul and body, which is the free gift of God, through Christ; and will be a life free from all the sorrows of the present one; a life of perfect holiness and knowledge, and inconceivable pleasure; a life of vision of God, and communion with him, and which will continue for ever; and which ascertains the eternity of the punishment of the wicked: for as the happiness of the righteous will be eternal, the punishment of the wicked will be so too; for no reason can be given why the word which is the same in both clauses, should be taken in the one for a limited time, and in the other for an eternal duration. The Jews have a saying (q) which agrees with this last clause, "the world to come is not made but for the righteous",

(p) Caphtor, fol. 113. 1. Shalshelet Hakabala, fol. 71. 1.((q) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol, 47. 1.46. And these shall go away—these "cursed" ones. Sentence, it should seem, was first pronounced—in the hearing of the wicked—upon the righteous, who thereupon sit as assessors in the judgment upon the wicked (1Co 6:2); but sentence is first executed, it should seem, upon the wicked, in the sight of the righteous—whose glory will thus not be beheld by the wicked, while their descent into "their own place" will be witnessed by the righteous, as Bengel notes.

into everlasting punishment—or, as in Mt 25:41, "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Compare Mt 13:42; 2Th 1:9, etc. This is said to be "prepared for the devil and his angels," because they were "first in transgression." But both have one doom, because one unholy character.

but the righteous into life eternal—that is, "life everlasting." The word in both clauses, being in the original the same, should have been the same in the translation also. Thus the decisions of this awful day will be final, irreversible, unending. 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.
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