“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.Matthew 13:40-43 NIV
One of the parables that Jesus told was of weed seeds sown into a grain field (Matt. 13:24-30). The grain and weeds were both allowed to grow together until the harvest. And then they were separated. The weeds were thrown into a blazing furnace while the wheat was gathered into the owner’s barn.
Jesus later explained this parable to his disciples (Matt. 13:40-43). He identified the wheat as the people of the kingdom. And the weeds were the people of the evil one, the devil. The harvest occurs at the end of the age, at our Lord’s return. And when that happens, the weeds will be thrown into a blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The ultimate fate of unbelievers is pictured in several ways in the Scripture: a fiery furnace, Gehenna, the lake of fire, eternal destruction, outer darkness, and separation from God. But what they all have in common is punishment appropriate for their sin and their rejection of God’s offer of salvation. The weeping and gnashing of teeth reflect the awfulness of this punishment.
The awfulness of what awaits the lost should move the children of the kingdom to action. Rather than being antagonistic towards those who oppose us or indifferent to their fate, we should make every effort to help them avoid that fate. Lovingly share the good news of Jesus and his salvation with them. And live holy and godly lives before them. Lives that will glorify God and draw others to him.