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The basis for this punishment is the negation of the kind deeds shown by the
righteous. This is the Lord's own explanation. "FOR I was a hungered . . . . . thirsty
. . . . . Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered
. . . . . thirsty, etc."
The way in which the Lord deals with these two classes shows how exactly He will
keep to the law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Failure to observe this cost
these nations the kingdom and aionion life. Instead, they received aionion punishment in
aionion fire. The relation which is observed between the subject of aionion life and the
set of parables under consideration in other articles is important.
The parable which precedes the first reference to aionion life in Matthew is the
parable of the wicked unforgiving servant. He is delivered to the tormentors (same root
as the word used so often in the Revelation), till he should pay all that was due. This is
parallel with the passage in Matt. 5: 26, "Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means
come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." The parable which
immediately follows Matt. 19:, and which commences with the word "For," is the
parable of the householder and vineyard where the penny a day seems to be in the parable
what the aionion life is in the plain statement of 19: 29.
The parable that immediately precedes the last reference to aionion life in Matthew is
the parable of the faithful and unprofitable servants. The faithful enters into the joy of his
Lord, the unprofitable servant is cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and
gnashing of teeth. All these parables have service or manner of life before them, with
their consequent rewards and punishments. It is so with regard to the way in which
aionion life, punishment, and fire are used in Matthew.
There are many who do not hesitate to affirm that the aionion fire of Matt. 25: is the
second death of Rev. 20: 14. Colour is given to this interpretation by the fact that in
Rev. 20: 10 we read that:--
"The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the
beast and the false prophet (are), and they shall be tormented day and night unto the ages
of the ages."
Let us not be too hasty in our conclusions. In the one case the fire is for torment day
and night unto the ages of the ages. In the other case it is definitely called the second
death. Death and Hades are cast into the second death and nothing is said about Satan.
So far as we have any knowledge, the devil has never yet died, and if he be cast into the
lake of fire of Rev. 20: 14, it would be the first death, not the second, for him.
The special emphasis upon "the overcomer" in the Revelation has already been
pointed out in the articles dealing with that book. It should be kept in mind when
considering the meaning of the passages relating to punishment. Note the alternatives in
the addresses to the seven churches in chapters 2: and 3: So far as we can understand
the term, aionion life may be for a limited period, and may end. Life in Christ is another
matter, and must on no account be confused with it.