…there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth



The expression does not appear once in the Septuagint, which rules out the possibility that the expression was coined and comes from ancient times; nor does it appear in other writings of the New Testament other than in the Gospels, and appears exclusively on the lips of Jesus, which leads us to understand that the expression was coined by Jesus for a didactic purpose, to establish the final whereabouts of those who attend to and/or obey apostate doctrines.

It is therefore not a saying, or a regional idiom, however, those who heard the expression knew that He was referring to, and by the gravity of the reference to which the expression appeals, it must have had an impact on those who heard it.

The expression “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, in Greek, ο κλαυθμός και ο βρυγμος των οδοντών, is raised by Jesus as an expression that reminds the abominable for God, and the horrible in the memory of the people, of what was the long-observed practice of burning children alive as part of the cult of the Canaanite gods Baal and Moloch,

they have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Jeremiah 19:5


And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. 2 Kings 17:17

The only place where the inhabitants of Jerusalem could identify as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, was the place identified as the Valley of the son of Hinnom, a place presented by the writer of the Gospel of Mark under the term “Gehenna”,

And if your hand should cause you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than having two hands to go away into Gehenna, 44into the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot should cause you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than having the two feet, to be cast into Gehenna.  47And if your eye should cause you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into Gehenna, 48where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 9:43-48 (Berean Literal Bible)

“Gehenna” is a Hebraism used to identify the place where King Manasseh, and the dwellers of the entire Jerusalem, sacrificed their children in fire in worship of Baal.

And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. 2 Chronicles 33:6 (2 Kings 21:6)


And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart. Jeremiah 7:31


For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house. Ezekiel 23:39

“Gehenna” is the transliteration of the word Gei Ben-Hinnom (ְּגֵ֣י בֶן-הִנֹּ֔ם), that is, valley of the son of Hinnom. The “Gehenna”, or valley of Hinnom’s son, became a cursed place not only because of the idolatrous worship practiced there, but also because at the time of the deportation to Babylon, the place was turned into the place where the bodies of the many who died during the siege and the seizure of Jerusalem were incinerated,

therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate, and a hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. Jeremiah 19:6-9

The term “Gehenna” is not the direct reference to hell, although by extension it is allowed; “Gehenna” is the reference to the mortality that meant the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, all because of the idolatry and apostasy in which the people were involved when they decided to integrate into their worship practices of the Canaanite gods.

“to be cast into Gehenna” means to suffer the same fate as those who were involved in the Canaanite ritual practices.

“to be cast into Gehenna” is a confrontation for the lack of integrity of those who walk with ambiguity allowing a hand, foot or eye to be scandalized and proposed as an occasion for fall. The conclusion of Mark’s text marks the confrontation by using the absurdity that salt loses its taste: Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it?[1]

“to be cast into Gehenna” is also reminiscent of the words of confrontation of the prophet Elijah to the people in another similar time of apostasy, the time of apostasy introduced by Jezebel. The prophet Elijah demanded, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.[2] “to be cast into Gehenna” means to suffer the same fate as the 400 priests of Baal slain by Elijah,

And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. 1 Kings 18:40

Therefore, “Gehenna” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are two expressions that converge in the same teaching, that of historically showing the whereabouts of those who moved away from sound doctrine and sought in idolatrous and apostates doctrines a supplement of godly life.

In that sense, both “Gehenna” and “the weeping and gnashing of teeth” are both a reminder of the judgment that weighs upon those who do not heed the command not to contaminate themselves with the pagan practices of people who do not know the Lord,

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Deuteronomy 18:10

The expression was coined by Jesus not only to show the anguish and pain of those who go through the experience, but more, to highlight the humiliation and dishonor of what it means for a man of faith to be cast into that place.

The apostle Paul took time to counsel the young Timothy about the risk that a congregation of faith runs because of people who do not have an adequate doctrine of life according to piety,

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;…   5perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 1st. Timothy 6:3-5

The writer of Matthew’s gospel compiled a series of teachings belonging to Jesus about what situations should be taken care of to avoid being exposed to the judgment that comes after “weeping and gnashing of teeth“.

The first warning is about the value of the life of faith; “The weeping and gnashing of teeth” applies to those who renounce faith as a way of life,

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12

The children of the Kingdom, in principle the Jewish people, are those who have the promises and the covenants, but as the apostle Paul established in the epistle to the Romans, they did not find them because they did not approach them with faith; in the same teaching it is established that those who approach them by faith, will win them and will be introduced as plenipotentiary members of the Kingdom; those who do not approach by faith will be thrown into “Gehenna”, there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 9:31-33

But the children of the Kingdom not only refers to the Jewish people, but also includes those who once tasted the heavenly gift, and fell away, to them also applies the assignment that they will be thrown into Gehenna,…   there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6

The writer of the Epistle of the Hebrews also states that there is an expectation of judgment awaiting them,

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27

The second warning presented is that “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the judgment for those who have acted establishing scandal for fall, and for those who do iniquity and/or establish rebellion and division.

the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:39-42

The third warning presented is that “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the judgment for those who have acted by establishing evil through their acts; it is the judgment for the doers of evil,

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50

The fourth warning presented is that the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the judgment for those who do not have an attitude aligned with the principles of the Kingdom,

and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 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 22:12-13

This means that there are Kingdom workers who work according to their own interpretation of God’s Will, that is, workers who operate according to what they consider to be God’s Will and not according to what God has demanded to be done; the writer of Matthew’s gospel offers an explanation of what it means to work under an interpretation of what is considered God’s Will,

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

The fifth warning presented is that “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the judgment on those who operate in negligence about their convictions, those who despise Salvation and who see in Grace a margin of error to do what is not convenient; it is the judgment for those who operate in licentiousness. “The weeping and gnashing of teeth” is presented as a lament for not participating in that for which they had been appointed; it is a lament for having lost the opportunity to enjoy that for which they were prepared,

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 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, 51 and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:48-51

The sixth warning presented is that “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the lament of those who will not be admitted to participate in the marriage of the Lamb, because they have not cared for the dignity of their ministerial function,

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Matthew 25:10-12

The seventh warning is that “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the lament of those who failed to value the Lord’s work and their position within it,

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 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:…   30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:24-30


To what epoch does this judgment that Jesus raises with these expressions belong?

The expression “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is not only an emblematic expression of the doctrine of God’s judgments, it is an expression that identifies a particular time at the end of the history of the Adamic generation.

This judgment is at the coming of Jesus, just before the beginning of the millennial reign, at the beginning of the marriage of the Lamb. It should not be confused with the judgment of the Great White Throne, for that is the final judgment at the end of the thousand years. In the teachings presented by John the Baptist it is discovered that this time is at His coming, when He is established as King of all the earth,

whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12


whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. Luke 3:17

Let us observe how Matthew and Luke refer to the fire that will never be quenched, which, as we saw earlier, belongs to the same scene of the teachings regarding “Gehenna”.

On the other hand, the action referred to by John the Baptist refers to the government of Jesus over his people, and the only time the Bible gives us testimony of that action, is during the millennial reign, which according to the book of Revelation, is the time when Jesus will rule over the earth with “rod of iron“.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4


Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Psalm 2:9


and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. Revelation 2:27


And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. Revelation 12:5


And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:15

So it’s clear, it’s the time that starts right at His coming. In addition, we have the very testimony of Jesus. When Jesus explained the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus stressed that such an action, that of burning the tares in the fire, is just at the end of the century:

the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:39-42

Thus, it is clear that the time referred to by the expression “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is at the end of the Adamic story, the return of Jesus to the earth, prior to the establishment of the millennial reign, properly speaking, is the judgment with which the marriage of the Lamb will begin.

Weeping and gnashing of teeth” is the time it takes the angels of Revelation to pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath. While the bowls of wrath are being poured into the earth, the private event of the marriage of the Lamb will be taking place in Jerusalem, and many who were called to the wedding will not be able to enter, because they were evil and negligent servants, because they denied the efficacy of faith, and because they put their hand to the plow but looked back. Do you understand now why it is called weeping and gnashing of teeth?



 

 

All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.

 

 


Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

https://earthenwarevessels.blog

[1] Mark 9:50

[2] 1 Kings 18:21

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