What will cause the “weeping and gnashing of teeth”?

“And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (capitals mine). But the children of the (earthly) kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 8:11-12

Have you ever heard the phrase “…weeping and gnashing of teeth”? I believe we can all agree weeping refers to the shedding of tears, mostly because of sorrow and/or pain. Gnashing of teeth? Typically, this describes the grinding of teeth, usually caused by anger! So when we see these two things combined we can assume there is pain and suffering, but also anger at having to go through whatever has caused the pain. In Luke 16:19-25 there is a very clear example of what may cause not only the weeping, but the gnashing of teeth as well:

“And there was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried. And in hell he lift up his eyes, BEING IN TORMENTS (pain? – capitals mine), and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried (wept?) and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.”

If you do a phrase/word search of the Holy Bible, you will see this phrase “…weeping and gnashing of teeth” occurs only 5 times in the entire Bible. Add “wailing” instead of “weeping” and you end up with 2more for a total of 7 mentions of this phrase. More than that, this phrase ONLY appears in the New Testament. Why? Because it describes a future time when people will not only weep but they will gnash their teeth. While the word “weeping” by itself occurs 41 times throughout the Bible, the word “gnashing” only appears in conjunction with either the words  “weeping” or “wailing”. In other words, there are various mentions of tears throughout the Bible but only in the New Testament are we told of a future time where the shedding of tears will be combined with anger for having to go through the resulting pain which will cause the “…weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Obviously there is something prophetic here!

In the beginning Scripture above, Jesus Himself tells us the children of the kingdom (unbelievers at the Second Coming) will be cast out into outer darkness. They will not be part of His Millennium reign on earth! Who will be? Those Jews AND Gentiles (those from both the east and the west) who accepted Him as the Son of God, the Promised Messiah. The ones who did not accept Him will be cast out into outer darkness and they will not only shed tears but they will also be very angry! Angry at themselves because they had been told and knew of Jesus but made a personal decision to not follow Him.

Off the subject for a moment,  a week ago I was watching the 4th Democratic Presidential debate. Twice during the debate there was shown an ad taken out by Ron Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Regan. This ad was asking for donations to his group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which advocates for the removal of all  religion from the public square. After admitting he was an “unabashed atheist”, he bluntly said ” I am not afraid of burning in hell!” Can you imagine, not only the tears but the gnashing of teeth in hell, he will experience for eternity in forever remembering what he said to millions? I would ask you pray for the Holy Spirit to open his eyes to God’s Truth.

But, back to my message. It is not just the outer darkness where they will be cast. They will be cast into “…a furnace of fire.”

“And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing (weeping) and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 13:42

“And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing (weeping) and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 13:50

Like the rich man, when judgement is levied against them, they will attempt to persuade someone to help them. But at the first death there is no longer any hope for the unsaved. They had their chance! Not only are they doomed to spend eternity in hell, but they will be bound hand and foot and then cast into outer darkness. We know through the Bible the Light of God will illuminate Heaven with no further need for a sun or moon. If you are absent from God you therefore will be in “…outer darkness.” Of course they will weep, but because of their anger at themselves for not believing in Him and accepting His Eternal Gift of Salvation, they will also gnash their teeth.

“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

Many have said unbelievers will be appointed their special place in hell based upon their earthly works. I believe their interpretation indicates not all will be punished to the same degree as the anti-christ, Satan, the false prophet or even someone like Hitler or Lenin will be. They nonetheless will still be cast into hell and suffer with all other “hypocrites”.

“And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 24:51

Do you remember the story of the rich man in Matthew 25:14-30 who entrusted his 3 servants with talents (some estimate a talent was worth a year’s salary) while he was gone from them? The first two wisely invested his money and made additional money for their master. The third simply buried it and was chastised for not doing anything with the gift given to him. As a result, guess what happened to that third servant?

“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 25:30

God has endowed all of us with certain gifts He intends for His Glorification. What we do with those gifts may very well determine whether we are told “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” or we will hear Him say “…cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Like the three servants, I am sure the third servant witnessed what the other two were doing in fulfillment of what they had been given by their master BUT he elected to not follow suit and instead, simply bury the money. He did not follow the rules of his Master!

“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.”

Luke 13:28

Like the above story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, the Bible appears to clearly state those in hell will be able to see those in Heaven. Can you even imagine how sad that must be for people who had the chance to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior but decided not to, now watching the Heavenly Blessings of those in Heaven? Not only the pain and suffering of being in eternal torment in hell but also being able to see what they are missing. While the story of the rich man and Lazarus does not indicate Lazarus saw what the rich man was going through in hell, it clearly says the rich man witnessed Lazarus being comforted in the bosom of Abraham. That will definitely cause the weeping and gnashing of teeth forever.

However, knowing we have accepted His Gift to us and also knowing as we are told in Revelation 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying: neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” There we have it! In Heaven there will be NO “…weeping and gnashing of teeth.” As a Believer this gives me so much comfort in knowing the absolute Truth of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. If you agree and are also comforted, PLEASE share this with your family and friends because we are all instructed by Jesus to do this and He specifically told us to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.” Like the two servants above, take your “talents” and double your influence with all the  people you know. Do this and I guarantee there will be no “weeping and gnashing of teeth” but you will hear Him one day say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

May God continue to Bless you!


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Denise

    This is hard for me!! I wish I could MAKE people believe but many family members and friends do not believe. I hope actually we can not see them in tourmoil or indeed I will be with Jesus and have great joy, but be weeping and gnashing my teeth over my loved one’s obstinate unbelief and turmoil.:-(

    1. Mike Wigton

      All we can do is continually pass His Word and pray their eyes will open before it is too late. I firmly believe seeing prophecies fulfilled in our lifetime will bring many to the Lord.

  2. Tom

    Thank you Sir for passing on the message.

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