At the time of the Judgment, Christ will announce to the wicked: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41). There are three important truths suggested in this passage. Note them.
- The punishment of the wicked will involve separation. “Depart . . . .” (cf. Mt. 7:23). Hell is a state that is away from “the face of the Lord and the glory of his might” (2 Thes. 1:9).
- The punishment of the wicked will involve everlasting pain. That is the significance of the expression “eternal fire.” Hell is a place of “everlasting punishment” (Mt. 25:46) which is associated with “suffering” (2 Thes. 1:9) and “torment” (Rev. 14:10). The biblical language absolutely demands conscious anguish.
Moreover, it is eternal in duration. The punishment of evil men is as lasting as the happiness of righteous souls (see Mt. 25:46). Note Paul’s contrast between “eternal” and “temporal” in 2 Corinthians 4:18.
- The punishment of the wicked will involve association with Satan and his evil angels. Those who have, by lives of disobedience, refused fellowship with God and His saints, will be fit to consort only with the devil and his rebel crew. The same principle is taught in Revelation 20:10.
So, in Matthew 25:41, underline the words: “Depart,” “eternal fire,” and “devil and his angels.” Bracket the verse, and in the margin of your Bible write these descriptives (corresponding to the appropriate terms): eternal separation, painful sensation, evil association.
Those who repudiate the biblical concept of hell are seriously in error!