Outer Darkness

(updated 7/9/2024)

Hello gentle reader,

A daily quiet-time of reading the Holy Bible can be both informative and enjoyable.  While some sections are more interesting than others, everyone can learn from the entire Bible.  Thankfully there are many Bible versions to choose from to make reading and understanding, easier.  Some of these Bibles include: the English Standard Version (ESV), the King James Version (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New English Translation (NET), and the New International Version (NIV).

From your Bible reading, perhaps you recall the phrase “outer darkness” used three-times by our Lord Jesus and only in the Book of Matthew.  It is found in all the above-mentioned Bible versions except the NIV.  Using the quickest method of research (the internet) to find its meaning, “outer darkness” is commonly explained to be a reference to Hell.

You know, Hell, the hot and burning place where unrepentant sinners will end up.  While I usually find the internet to be a good source of quick information, I find this simplistic explanation doubtful.  I doubt that our Lord used “outer darkness” as a never-heard-before name for Hell.  Would he not have simply said “hell” since he clearly said “hell” multiple times in the New Testament?

Perhaps like me, you suspect our Lord carefully chose his words to form the phrase “outer darkness” to mean something besides Hell.  Just as most of the Lord’s parables are left unexplained and must be carefully analyzed for deeper significance, “outer darkness” is an unknown location with an unrevealed meaning that the Lord has left for us as a mystery.  Understanding the physical and spiritual significance of Outer Darkness is something that every Christian should know.  Once you know what Outer Darkness is, you will want to prevent it from becoming your eternal destination.

In my previous writing, The Path to Outer Darkness, I stated that the eternal destination of the lascivious Christian is Outer Darkness.  In case you don’t recall, lascivious, in its broadest definition, is lacking of moral restraint.  Therefore, lascivious Christians conduct themselves without being inhibited by God’s commandments.  They expect full grace forgiveness for all their purposeful sinning without ever expecting to be held accountable by our Lord.

A verse excerpt from the New International Version Bible provides an excellent, compact description of these lascivious Christians, “…They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality…,” Jude 1:4 NIV.

In this writing, I am going to present what I believe are sufficient ‘clues’ that the Bible clearly lays out in order to solve the mystery of Outer Darkness.  These clues are not hidden and do not require uncommon word definitions nor manipulation of the text to force questionable results.  Once you see what I saw for many years but missed due to its ‘in-your-face’ simplicity, then my well-reasoned conclusion of what and where Outer Darkness is will make complete sense.

The Outer Darkness passages

To begin this process of solving the Outer Darkness mystery, let’s briefly examine the three passages that contain the “outer darkness” phrase.

#1)  This Outer Darkness passage provides the Lord’s faith comparison between the Centurion and Israel and foretells the future punishment of the “children of the kingdom” (likely the Israelites of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who rejected the Lord):

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matthew 8:5-13 KJV emphasis mine)

#2)  This Outer Darkness passage is known as the Lord’s parable of the wedding feast:

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:1-14 KJV emphasis mine)

#3)  This Outer Darkness passage is known as the Lord’s parable of the talents:

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:14-30 KJV emphasis mine)

Sad and angry

In each of the three passages, there are those deemed unworthy who are to be cast into “outer darkness.”  That’s it – there is nothing more concerning Outer Darkness.  Just what this obscure destination is, we are not told.  It is almost certainly some form of punishment that will leave those who are placed there, sad and angry.  Why do I say sad and angry?  If we look at the specific verses where each usage of “outer darkness” occurs, we see the same concluding phrase:

♥ But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 8:12 KJV emphasis mine)

♥ Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 22:13 KJV emphasis mine)

♥ And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 25:30 KJV emphasis mine)

Obviously, the “weeping” is associated with a deep sadness and/or regret while the “gnashing of teeth” is a clear sign of anger and hostility.  Hence, they are sad and angry.  With all this “weeping and gnashing of teeth” going on, can we find more of it?  Yes, the bitterness continues in the Book of Matthew and once in the Book of Luke.

Let’s consider this additional ‘sad-and-angry’ find in the Book of Matthew:

♥ Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 24:45-51 KJV emphasis mine)

These verses describe the wise servant’s reward versus the evil servant’s punishment.  Since it is the Lord Jesus who is saying these verses, we can safely assume it is our Lord who is the lord of these servants.   Therefore, it also follows that these servants are Christians.  Notice the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” bolded the same as in the three Outer Darkness verses from before except there is no preceding “outer darkness” phrase.  Instead, you see that I bolded “appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.”  I do so since I contend that the evil servant’s appointed portion is to Outer Darkness!  I will attempt to demonstrate this.

To show this Outer Darkness appointment, let’s think about who the “hypocrites” are.  Remember the lascivious Christians discussed earlier?  They are Christian brethren who are willfully disobedient to the Lord’s commandments; they are being evil.  These evil brethren are expected to be set apart from the worldly masses, not behaving like them.  Hence, lascivious Christians are hypocrites.  In Matthew 24:45-51, the evil servants are evil Christians who are willfully disobedient to the Lord by purposely mistreating other Christians and taking up worldly behaviors much like the lascivious Christians.  Therefore, if the lascivious Christians (the hypocrites) are destined for Outer Darkness, then the evil servants from Matthew 24:45-51 will be joining them!

Comparing ‘sad-and-angry’ finds

That additional ‘sad-and-angry’ find from Matthew is interesting, but the Luke find can also assist in bearing some fruit.  Here follows the ‘sad-and-angry’ find from the Book of Luke:

♥ There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.  (Luke 13:28-29 KJV emphasis mine)

Now, compare that to this small portion of the Matthew, chapter 8, Outer Darkness passage previously mentioned:

♥ And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 8:11-12 KJV emphasis mine)

These two mini-passages are so much alike that they seem to express the same meaning with a little different wording.  Notice how Luke uses the expression “kingdom of God” while Matthew uses the expression “kingdom of heaven” to apparently say the same thing.  This suggest they are equivalent expressions.  If we dig a little further, we learn that the expression “kingdom of God” is used in all four New Testament Gospels, the Book of Acts, and in multiple Epistles of the Apostle Paul for a total of 70-times but just 5-times in Matthew (note that I am specifically referencing the King James Version Bible).   Now, contrast that to the expression “kingdom of heaven” which only appears in the Book of Matthew, but does so an impressive 33‑times (KJV again).  These numbers may not have much significance, but they give me an idea.

I can’t help but wonder if Matthew chose to use “kingdom of heaven” rather than “kingdom of God” as a matter of preference instead of trying to make a distinction between the two.  In the following verses, Matthew seems to use the two phrases interchangeably:

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  (Matthew 19:23-24 KJV emphasis mine)

I won’t spend much time here comparing Matthew’s use of the two expressions since I can’t conclusively prove anything.  Even so, I doubt Matthew recorded over 30 instances of our Lord speaking and teaching where he used “kingdom of heaven” as a special phrase that the other gospel writers all happened to miss.  That does not seem likely.  Granted, only Matthew recorded the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ but that only accounts for six of the usages.  At the least, I believe I can make the point that the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven” expressions are closely related if not the very same.  That statement will take more significance, later.

More similarity

There is a bit more similarity of the Luke and Matthew mini-passages above that I want to bring attention to.  Notice in the Luke mini-passage where it states “you yourselves thrust out” while the Matthew mini-passage describes “the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness.”  After comparing these two sentence segments, I believe it is very likely that “you yourselves” is equivalent to “the children of the kingdom” and that “outer darkness” is where they are “thrust out” to.  Before moving on, I am going to turn-up the ‘heat’ a bit with some more bitter finds in Matthew.

A hot variation

Earlier in this writing, I showed the specific Outer Darkness verses from Matthew of 8:12, 22:13, and 25:30.  If you examine those verses, you will see how the phrase “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” is always preceded by “outer darkness.”   Now I present a similar verse that appears nowhere else in the Bible except twice in the Book of Matthew.  This verse offers a ‘hot’ variation to being ‘sad-and-angry’:

♥ And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 13:42 KJV emphasis mine)

♥ And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 13:50 KJV emphasis mine)

These two verses are essentially identical, differing by only a single word.  They include an expression very similar to “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” except “weeping” is replaced by “wailing.”  Why might that be?  Clearly, to weep is to be very sad, but to wail is to be in great pain.  The doers of evil being referenced in these two verses are not cast into Outer Darkness.  Instead, they are cast into a “furnace of fire.”  Yes, they are undoubtedly to be cast into that Hell I non-authoritatively defined in the opening paragraph.  That absolutely would cause one to wail!

Time-out for something else

At this point, let’s take a time-out and assess where we are in solving our Outer Darkness mystery.  I will tell you where we are.  We are nowhere!  Some interesting observations have been made, particularly in the Book of Matthew, but we are still no closer to solving what Outer Darkness is.  What else can we do?

If I were a diligent student of the Bible, I might search up the Greek words for “outer” and “darkness” in a KJV-Greek Parallel New Testament and then look-up the definitions of the Greek words in a New Testament Dictionary.  These are both available through AMG Publishers and edited by Spiros Zodhiates Th.D.  Although informative, the small collection of meanings found are insufficient to explain what and where Outer Darkness is.  Is there anything else to do?

An excellent resource for any student of theology are the many Bible commentaries written by theologians who have carefully studied, analyzed, and researched the Bible – some going back many hundreds of years or further.  No, I have not read even a small percentage of them all.  However, I do find that sound, intelligent, and plausible ideas regarding the meaning and interpretation of all areas of the Bible are often passed around rather than hidden or ignored.  Those that are deemed the most reasonable often ‘percolate’ to the top.  In my investigations, I have read some of these commentator’s very reasonable explanations of what Outer Darkness might represent, but they left me unsatisfied.  Their proposals of what the Lord Jesus meant were not uniquely special and failed to remain consistent with the cohesivity of the Holy Bible that I expect.  I realize that is quite a mouthful, but it is precisely and exactly what I mean.  Maybe, I can do a better job of expressing that.

If our Lord made it a point to utter a phrase with no known reference and left it to his followers as an unannounced mystery, then it follows that the ‘solution’ to that mystery is not likely to be ordinary or simple and certainly not a substitution of words.  Importantly, there is a solution to be discovered and it will come directly from the Bible.  Therefore, it will be consistent and cohesive with the ideas and concepts expressed in the Bible.  This solution will fall right into place in its uniquely special way.  Due to all these considerations, the sought after solution will provide a near seamless fit with the Bible – it will just make sense.  This was my attempt at expressing myself more clearly.  If all you see here is mud-pie, you have my apology.  Let’s move on.

Solution test

So, I have explained what I am looking for in a solution that reveals what Outer Darkness is.  That is very important.  If there is no scale against which to measure when a likely solution has been found, then any reasonable solution is just as likely to be correct or wrong as the next reasonable solution.  That would be a bit of chaos, right?  My goal is to keep the chaos to a minimum by providing a test, of sorts, against which to measure a proposed solution.  To pass the test, the solution must be:  not ordinary (it is uniquely special), comes from the Bible, and fits nicely in place and with existing Bible concepts.  This is great.  We are making progress.  Now where do we stand with our Outer Darkness mystery?

For you reading this, there hasn’t been a ‘test-passing’ solution for Outer Darkness presented, yet.  For me, I have spent considerable time at this very point wondering if Outer Darkness would remain a Bible mystery until the Lord’s return or after the ‘White Throne’ judgment.  Of course, I couldn’t abandon my search.  It would nag at me occasionally.  Why would the Lord use a phrase that is not defined anywhere that can be found?  Hmm, perhaps I was not looking where I should have been looking – in the Bible itself.  Obviously, I had searched the Bible, but I had not yet considered that I might need to search for clues.

Clues?

What do I mean by clues?  I am saying some text of the Bible was written to give a meaning that does not have immediate significance or that provides another, dual meaning.  If that is the case, then reading the Bible requires a bit more robust thinking when considering what is being said and if it might be a clue of some sort.  Clues are not marked and are extremely difficult to realize.  I have prayed over-and-over for understanding from the Holy Spirit.  I have waited years for that ‘ah-hah’ moment when the Lord would bathe me in bright white light and great understanding would suddenly enter my mind to render the Holy Bible laid open to me as though it were a child’s nighttime storybook of simple, straightforward writings.  That has never occurred.  However, I do believe that the Holy Spirit did guide me to see some clues that were always there, just waiting to be noticed.  They are there right now.  You have seen them, too, and did not realize it.  We are going to cover these clues so that you, gentle reader, can learn how I came to my conclusions and see if you agree.

A New Beginning

This is a new beginning.  Instead of beginning with the Bible passages containing the direct usage of “outer darkness,” let’s follow a completely different approach to solve what Outer Darkness is.  We are going on a bit of clue hunting.  Well, no actual hunting since I am going to present the clues found in the KJV Holy Bible.  These clues ‘blossomed’ in my mind when I wasn’t looking for them.  I had ‘stepped’ over them many times before, but a few years ago, they suddenly entwined themselves in a meaningful way.  I made an instant connection to that nagging mystery of Outer Darkness that remained in the back of my mind and had my tiny ‘ah‑hah’ moment.  I hope that you, too, can have that sudden realization before I put it all together for you.  You will have a good, long opportunity to do so.

Here we go.  To properly begin this, there must be a fair amount of ‘setting-the-stage.’  In other words, certain necessary Bible content must be freshly in mind so that the clues I present make sense and you are prepared to put it all together.  Please note that skipping to the end will rob you of the opportunity to experience first-hand how I came to my ‘ah-hah’ moment.  If you skip ahead don’t fret, you can still have a redo.

Setting-the-stage (STS)

Let’s begin our background building by starting in chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation.  We learn those not found in the Book of Life at the ‘White Throne’ judgment are cast into the Lake of Fire.

♥ And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  (Revelation 20:12 KJV)

♥ And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:15 KJV)

The major significance of verse 15 cannot be overstated.  All members of humanity not granted salvation will suffer damnation in the Lake of Fire for all eternity.*  Even those who died by crucifixion at least died and their earthly torment was over.  To be cast into the Lake of Fire is a permanent torment beyond the grave for all of time.

* = the Bible indicates an exception for the “children of the kingdom” (likely the Israelites of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) who may be cast to Outer Darkness rather than the Lake of Fire (Mat 8:12).  See the 6th Grace-Exception Case in Never Forgiveness for more information.

There is another significance of this verse that should be an obvious corollary since verse 15 is the last verse of chapter 20.  Here it is:  all remaining humanity from the beginning of chapter 21 through the end of chapter 22 is saved!**  This is true since everyone cast into the Lake of Fire was not granted salvation.***  Therefore, everyone still alive after everyone else was cast into the Lake of Fire, is saved.****  That is as straight-forward as I can make it with all these asterisks.  If you can’t accept that conclusion, then you are not likely to accept what I demonstrate Outer Darkness to be.  If you tentatively accept it, then great – let’s continue.  I generally like to go in order of events, but I need to pull an earlier verse from chapter 20 to maintain a continuity of thought for what’s next.

** = except for those Israelites of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who are cast into Outer Darkness.  See the 6th Grace-Exception Case in Never Forgiveness for more information.

*** = unless they were saved but committed a ‘salvation-exception.’  See Never Forgiveness for more information on this subject.

**** = except for those Israelites of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who are granted righteousness from the Lord and NOT cast into Outer Darkness.  This would, at a minimum, include Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob since they are seen in Heaven (Mat 8:11).  See the 6th Grace-Exception Case in Never Forgiveness for more information.

STS – Old and new

The following ‘out-with-the-old’ event will probably be the largest and most significant that humanity has ever witnessed or is aware of in the presence of the Lord God:

♥ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  (Revelation 20:11 KJV)

Now we pick-up in the opening of Chapter 21 which begins as an ‘in-with-the-new’ event:

♥ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1 KJV)

From these two verses in chapters 20 & 21 of Revelation, it seems like our current Earth is to be removed from existence to make way for a new Earth.  However, it is not clear if the old Earth is just ‘remodeled’ instead of being destroyed or erased.  Whatever the truth, it is important to realize it will not be the same as it currently is.  The new Earth will apparently no longer have seas.  Will lakes still exist?  What about rivers?  We don’t know these answers.  The abundance of fish for human consumption comes from the oceans and largest lakes.  Will fish continue to be a ready food source?  Again, we don’t know.

Without seas, will rain be a normal occurrence?  Rainfall is responsible for most of the irrigation on our planet.  If there is no rainfall, would the Lord initiate an internal planetary irrigation system like what existed before the rains that came with Noah’s ark?  We are not told.  This new Earth could be a rather dry and difficult experience for some or many, but we don’t have enough information to go on to make conclusions.  I realize I am leaning towards a somewhat negative outcome here, but I do so for a reason that I present later.  Regardless of the variety of starting resources and initial level of pleasantness this new Earth provides, we can be confident that the new Earth will differ considerably from its former self.

Since Heaven is to be new also, will the new Earth have a moon?  Will there be a sun?  I believe the answer to these two questions is “yes.”  This positive assessment is made based on a verse in the Book of Revelation that discusses attributes of the New Jerusalem once it comes down from Heaven after the new Heaven and new Earth are presented in Revelation 21:1:

♥ And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  (Revelation 21:23 KJV)

That gives us a little reassurance that some things will remain the same or, at least, similar.  Will the other planets remain as a part of our new or ‘freshened’ star system?  What will happen to the other star systems in our galaxy?  What about the other galaxies in the universe?  I expect that we may not know these answers and many more until after these events take place in the distant future (more than a thousand years since the Lord’s ‘Millennial Reign’ has yet to occur).

STS – New Jerusalem

The crowning jewel to be revealed once the new Earth and new Heaven are formed is the New Jerusalem:

♥ And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (Revelation 21:2 KJV)

Do not doubt that the New Jerusalem is well-adorned and befitting of royalty.  Describing it as the crowning jewel falls far short of its magnificence.  The Apostle John only describes what he witnesses, leaving out his emotions at what is likely a most awe-inspiring sight to behold:

♥ And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.  (Revelation 21:10-21 KJV)

The New Jerusalem is vastly different from any city that man has ever known since the creation of the previous Earth.  Besides its incredibly rich adornments, try to imagine just how big it is.  Verse 21:16 states it is 12,000-furlongs or about 1,500-miles on a single edge.  That same verse also makes it clear that the New Jerusalem has cubical dimensions – 1,500-miles on each edge!  All the major cites of the planet could easily be fit into it using only a tiny portion of its volume.  It’s so enormous, it’s not conceivable that man could duplicate it.

STS – More significant qualities

The size, capacity, and sheer stunning beauty of the New Jerusalem will be more impressive than anything man has known, but it has qualities that are of greater significance than everything you have so far read.  Let’s examine some of these qualities:

♥ And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  (Revelation 21:3 KJV)

Perhaps the most important quality of the New Jerusalem is that the Lord God Almighty and his son, Jesus the Christ, will be residing in it either directly or indirectly.  That may seem confusing, but Father God is omnipresent, able to reside in his Heaven and New Jerusalem and anywhere else he chooses, simultaneously.  It is not too surprising that Jesus will be there since verses in both the Old and New Testaments allude to our Lord similarly ruling from Jerusalem during his ‘Millennial Reign’ while still ruling at the right-hand of Father God:

♥ So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  (Mark 16:19 NKJV)

♥ Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.  And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  (Zechariah 14:16-17 ESV)

With the direct or indirect presence of Father God and Lord Jesus from New Jerusalem, there will be a visual significance that cannot be missed.  The combination of God’s glory and the light of Jesus will be as a day-by-day, continuous lighting system.  It will never be night there.  The following verses describe this wonder:

♥ And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  (Revelation 21:22-27 KJV)

That last verse, Revelation 21:27, makes complete sense.  No one wants the beauty and purity of New Jerusalem degraded by anything that might defile it.  Of course, it almost seems unnecessary to state that since the unsaved were previously eternally damned to the Lake of Fire.

As an aside, you will recall that the Book of Life records who is saved from the Lake of Fire as discussed in The Path to Outer Darkness.  We can find references to the Book of Life a handful of times in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  Here is an unmistakable reference to the Book of Life from the Old Testament:

♥ Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.  (Psalms 69:27-28 KJV emphasis mine)

Let’s continue with the qualities of the New Jerusalem as there are still more to point out.

STS – The Tree of Life and Paradise

Any discussion of New Jerusalem must include what may be the most uncommon tree in the world and its very special location:

♥ And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.  (Revelation 22:1-5 KJV emphasis mine)

Since Lord Jesus will be ruling from New Jerusalem, his throne will be located there.  In fact, the throne ‘room’ will be the location of what will likely be the most important tree in the universe, the Tree of Life, and where the “water of life” originates from.  This is not too surprising either if you read Jeremiah:

♥ For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.  (Jeremiah 2:13 KJV emphasis mine)

Just what makes the Tree of Life the most important tree in the universe?  It has a very special ‘upgrade’ that it imparts to those who eat of it:

♥ And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:  (Genesis 3:22 KJV emphasis mine)

Yes, the Tree of Life provides immortality which is important when considering eternity.  Both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil were originally found in the Garden of Eden:

♥ And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  (Genesis 2:9 KJV emphasis mine)

♥ And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  (Genesis 2:15 KJV emphasis mine)

From the following verse, we learn another name for the location of the Tree of Life:

♥ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.  (Revelation 2:7 NKJV emphasis mine)

From Revelation 2:7, the Garden of Eden is referred to as Paradise.  From Revelation 22:2, we know that the future location of the Tree of Life will be found in New Jerusalem.  Therefore, it seems that the Garden of Eden will ultimately be found in New Jerusalem with the Tree of Life in it.

Since humans have already violated the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, what purpose would be served to keep it with the Garden of Eden after its relocation to New Jerusalem?  This is a question that can’t be answered except by the Lord Jesus.

Based on these speculations, it seems likely that when the new Earth appears, it does not contain a Garden of Eden and the original Garden of Eden is relocated to (or remade in) the New Jerusalem.  I also suspect we won’t know the truth of this until it happens.  Well, we are just about to the end of “Setting-the-stage.”

STS – Last bit

Clearly the New Jerusalem will contain some key effects from Heaven, from Eden, and from Earth, but it will be missing some ‘elements’ that must obviously be excluded.  Remember the ‘White Throne’ judgment?  Its results are referred to as a reminder shortly after the New Jerusalem is revealed:

♥ But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  (Revelation 21:8 KJV)

Undoubtedly, some portion of humanity will experience the “second death” and never know the “new” anything.  No new Earth, no new Heaven, and no New Jerusalem.  Such persons are almost unnecessarily referred to again in this last bit of “Setting-the-stage”:

♥ Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.  (Revelation 22:14-15 KJV)

These two verses kind of make a nice summary before leaving the “Setting-the-stage” portion of this writing.  It goes something like this – if as a Christian you obey the Lord’s commandments, his Ten Commandments, then you can expect good results from the Lord to include entry into the New Jerusalem and access to the Tree of Life.  Otherwise, it might go very bad for you for the rest of eternity.

All aboard

I believe I have laid a sufficient basis of biblical background for those who have at least read and understood The Path to Outer Darkness before I begin presenting the clues to uncover Outer Darkness.  If you feel comfortable to proceed, then all aboard as we now discover the clues.

The clues

Well, that’s done.  The truth is this.  “Setting-the-stage” was the presentation of the clues.  Don’t feel let down.  The clues have all been nicely compacted and some commentary was added to make it informative as well as interesting.  No one did that for me.  I reached for a Bible and wasn’t told anything.  I had the entire Bible as one large possibility with almost no directions.  Everything needed to discover what Outer Darkness is can be found in the “Setting the stage (STS)” sections of this writing and the three central verses for The Path to Outer Darkness, Matthew 7:21-23 KJV.  Additionally, there are some hints scattered throughout this writing.

I now provide you with a final clue of my own.  It is a question that formed in my mind and gave me clarity of thought just before I had my small ‘ah-hah’ moment.  It was this question that initiated everything falling into place.  So, I ask you:  what makes Heaven, Heaven?

All here

It is all here my dear gentle reader.  I expect that some of you are likely to put this all together before I write Outer Darkness: The Conclusion.  It will come eventually.  This writing took a while and I have some others that may take priority.

It is my endeavor to share what I have learned through my writings.  Do not worry that it takes me so long to produce my writings.  There is no harm incurred for the delay.  Here is a sneak preview to a future writing.  I believe some other Bible clues make clear that we have quite a while left on Earth.

Until we meet again, please enjoy the assistance I have provided you to solve the mystery of Outer Darkness.

The Humbled Teacher

DAC

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