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Matthew 25:41

Matthew 25:41

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 F11, the hell (Mle twdyqy) , "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 F12, 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 F13, 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 F14, 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 (Nymle Nm ardom) , "be ordained from eternity", because of their sins {o}.


FOOTNOTES:

F11 Targum in Isa. xxxiii. 14.
F12 Targum Jon. in Gen. i. 26. Pirke Eliezer, c. 4.
F13 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.
F14 T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 54. 1. & Nedar. fol. 39. 2. Zokar in Lev. fol. 14. 4. Targum Jon. in Gen iii. 24.
F15 Targum in Isa. xxx. 33.
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